Book Review: Stranger of Tempest

Saturday 25 June 2016 by

Today’s guest post comes from Dave from over at Geek Planet Online. I definitely recommend checking out his other reviews!

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Stranger of Tempest, Gollancz, Tom Lloyd, Book, ReadingStranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Published by Gollancz

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause.

Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years.

So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

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Stanger of Tempest has a variety of appealing ingredients. The setting feels unique as the world on which it is set has rings knows as the skyriver but has all the trappings of 17th Century Europe, all tricorn hats and britches.

People are armed with guns that use magic to fire bullets and ammunition that can freeze, incinerate or electrocute. Elementals roam the world and are to be avoided by anyone who isn’t a mage and in the underground ruins of a fallen empire there are even nastier things awaiting the unwary traveller.

The fantastical elements are balanced out by fun characters who share uneasy alliances, good natured camaraderie or outright hostility. The mercenary company feel real without having to be meticulously drawn. Their work ethic is all business until their commander says otherwise. Then they eagerly indulge in their favourite vices (food, drink, sex and gambling) until it is time to go back to work.

The first half of the book plays around with flashback. The opening pages drop you straight into the action, then flashback to before the mission begins, then flip-flops between the two. It is a very kinetic style of storytelling that might not be for everyone but if you find it works then you should have a lot of fun.

Fun is very much the watchword of Stranger of Tempest. The action is exciting, the dialogue is entertaining and the plot is engaging. While it is the first of a series it is a complete tale in its own right. If you have never tried fantasy before this is a great book to test the waters. With adventuring in lost cities, carousing in taverns and explosive battles Stranger of Tempest has something for everyone to enjoy.

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