Bounty hunter Draygon pursues a roguish sorcerer, Zekiel, across a magical land in Mullikin and Riding’s ambitious epic-fantasy debut.
The novel takes place in a medieval world full of fantasy creatures—elves, gnomes, dwarves, vampires, werewolves and more. The town of Lombard, however, has for 30 years had an amulet that has magically protected its humans from any incursion by the supernatural. The sorcerer Zekiel steals it for an unknown purpose—one that he even keeps secret from his shady, untrustworthy partner in crime, Ness, who seems to have an agenda of his own. Meanwhile, Draygon, a bounty hunter with arms made of metal, is less interested in the theft and more interested in the fact that the two men have a price on their heads, as they are wanted for murder. Meanwhile, a nefarious gnome, Zull, has kidnapped a mysterious, powerful young slave girl from the Dark Elf Mahgus in order to prevent him from somehow using her as a weapon. Mullikin and Riding have created an admirably detailed world, and their passion for the material sometimes elevates the novel from its familiar sword-and-sorcery trappings. More often than not, however, the authors use well-worn fantasy tropes without effectively making them their own. The novel often struggles with vaguely sketched characters, awkward expository dialogue and a tendency to overexplain plot points. That said, the book is very attractive to look at; Henderson’s gorgeous, richly detailed illustrations will draw even casual readers in for a closer look.
An enthusiastic but unpolished epic fantasy.