Hartley (Act of Will, 2009, etc.) delivers the second installment of his charming fantasy series.
Will Hawthorne, witty ex-actor, dramatist and con man in a medieval world similar to Elizabethan England, is still with the band of sword-wielding adventurers he fell in with in Act of Will. This book opens with them on the run from soldiers of the repressive Empire. Before long, they find themselves lost—seemingly transported to a very different land. They’re soon attacked by strange, ferocious wolves and a bear, and rescued by the blond-haired, blue-eyed warrior Sorrail, one of the “fair folk” of a nearby wealthy city. Sorrail and his people have been in an ongoing war with a grotesque goblin race, whom the adventurers soon meet in battle. But all is not what it seems when it comes to the smug “fair folk”—and Hawthorne becomes determined to get to the bottom of what the war is really about. Though most of the characters are a bit on the stock side, Will’s snarky first-person narration is amusing. And Hartley has a talent for battle scenes, which are fast-paced and engaging.
A light and entertaining fantasy adventure.