14 August 2012

The Hammer and the Blade - Paul S. Kemp

The BlurbA Tale of Egil and Nix
A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales…
Kill the demon.
Steal the treasure.
Retire to a life of luxury.
Sounds easy when you put it like that.
Unfortunately for Egil and Nix, when the demon they kill has friends in high places, retirement is not an option.

Ah, now this was fun. Some good old fashioned sword and sorcery, hack and slash adventure. It was like a good brain scrub, reminding me of my childhood. The one thing I do not like is the cover. It seems too mcuh ye olde fantasy book to me. I have it on my Kindle, so that is a minor point.
Not that this book is a YA or child friendly. There's cursewords and blood and guts galore, with even a little whoring thrown in for good measure.
The stars of this book are Egil and Nix. Two friends, companions and grave robbers. There seemed to be a previous civilization who buried their royalty with loads of loot. Egil and Nix feel that leaving it there seems a waste, so they go take it at great personal risk to themselves.
There are fights, drinking, magic mayhem, damsels in distress, demons and humour galore. The thing that made this book so damn fun was that it hinted at a deeper back story. The history of the main characters are hinted at, but never really explained. The fallen empire whose graves are being robbed seems well thought out, with only hints about their customs and who they were. There are loads of room in this world for further exploration, and that will certainly make me come back for more.
The supporting cast is well fleshed out, each being granted some real personality for the most part. There were a few generic guards that were slaughtered along the way, but that's wat they were there for. You cannot individualise each and every person to their full extent, otherwise you'd be stuck with a 2000 book on character development.
This book came as a real surprise to me, and I'd recommend it to any fantasy fan. If you like sword and sorcery, you'll love this. If you enjoy a well crafted story and a good book, you'll like it just at much. That makes it special.


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