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  • Writer's pictureDylan Doose

Last time we took a look at one of my favorite books, The Lies of Locke Lamora. A truly unique fantasy experience that crossed all the great things about a heist story and a fantasy journey into the same book.

The next book I'd like to bring to your attention is another fantasy novel, and as the Lies of Locke Lamora is, the start of a fantastic fantasy series.

Today lets take a look at: The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett.

When I was younger i enjoyed high fantasy as my chosen sub genre of fantasy, I liked elves and orcs, goblins and half-lings, trolls and dragons and above all dwarves in my fantasy. I grew up on the Lord of the Rings movies (I did not read the books until much later in life), but I loved those movies and all things fantasy had to be recognizable to me through the LOTR lens. This went on for years, until I crossed the Video Game Diablo Two when I was eighteen. I immediately became infatuated with a whole knew type of fantasy, one that revolved around demons as the main adversaries not orcs. One is not better than the other I just felt so much more afraid of these creatures in Diablo. The goat men, the little red skinned, black horned fiends with the torches and the machetes, the yeti's and cursed amazon's and all the other hell spawn, they were the stuff of nightmares, the nightmares I wanted to dream. Soon after playing that game i began researching fantasy novels that explored these demonic realms more than those of more Tolkienian, fantasy.

What I found was the Warded Man. This is a story about a world where the night itself is the enemy, for each and every time the sun falls, from tunnels in earth demons rise. The Core lings. They have one agenda and that is to wipe man from the very surface of the world. Sword and spear, arrow and axes do nothing to these creatures. The only thing that can stop these enemies are the wards.

Magical symbols etched upon a surface to enchant it with ancient esoteric power that can fell the demons.

What I find so special about this book is that it is not weapons, it is not traditional fantasy wizardry that destroys the forces of darkness. Rather it is artistry. I like to think that is the metaphor, all those demons that come in the night, all those doubts and fears and self-deprecating thoughts that assail each and every one of us in times of darkness, in those long nights of the soul, we may all turn to an art, or to any craft that we hold as mighty.

Our craft, the craft we choose is what makes the wards against our own demons.

When I say a craft, I mean anything, from writing as I do, or sport as an athlete does, painting, cooking, mindful cleaning and tidying, dancing, singing, parenting. The discipline and focus of honing an ability, truly applying yourself to it, not merely as a pass time but something to grow and improve from, is how we may best ward ourselves against the shadows and demons in our own souls.

Thank you Peter V. Brett and your Warded Man for the message.

  • Writer's pictureDylan Doose

Last time we talked about Oni, a brutal and intricate crime thriller by an underground master of the mystery genre, Marc Olden.

Today I'd like to recommend another exciting and thoughtful crime thriller, this time the story centers and around a heist, and it takes place in a world entirely not ours.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, By: Scott Lynch, is a very special fantasy novel Near and dear to my heart. As a young boy all I read was fantasy novels, all i watched was fantasy films, all I played was fantasy video games. How, when, and why I switched from a fascination with the genre of fantasy over to True Crime, Mystery and Thriller I am not entirely sure. But there was a number of years that this was all I read, for a time I had all but forgotten about my sweet Martin the mouse warrior of Red wall and Harry Potter and the gang, I had grown weary of Frodo and Bilbo and their plight with the ring, I wanted a look into the dark, I wanted to jump into Mordor and go for a swim.

Eventually after much recommendation from my brother and a dear friend, knowing next to nothing about the book other than, "It isn't technically what you've been reading, but it's really very good," I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora.

This is at its heart as I said earlier a heist novel. Think ocean's eleven with magic, and lords and ladies in a surreal kind of pseudo-Venice. Where all manner of devilish fish and beast swim the canals and gangsters live in hulls of mighty ship fortress' in the wharf. Our main character' Locke is not much good with a sword, it is with wit and a well executed plan that he cuts. He has mannerisms and a sort of energy that reminds me of Robert Downy Junior's acting of Sherlock Holmes. But do not let these former comparisons fool you. The book is fun and witty as any great crime comedy, it has colors images and fights that filled me with the same thrills and excitement I may have had watching Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films as a child. And then in a snap, in a heart beat Scott Lynch is able to turn the tide of the story like a gamblers roll of the dice the ups become abyssal, dark and dreary lows. I feared for the characters, I feared for their safety, for their minds and for their souls.

Scott Lynch tells a tail unlike any other in a world with a mythology and history entirely its own.

  • Writer's pictureDylan Doose

Today's read is all good fun with a strong dose of historical learning. If you have Netflix chances are you have seen the show-or at least seen the cover for it- of the the Viking series "The Last Kingdom". I am yet to watch the show but the novel of the same name and the series that follows is a rapid ride through some of the major battles fought between the Danes and the farming clans of pre-England while you learn a thing or too about what it may have been like to live in the cruel world of early middle ages.

The way Bernard Cornwell breaks down battle tactics from the time and the film like clarity of his massive action sequences is particularly special.

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