Oh my dear, Wild Things, this novel made the old Dragon dance for joy. Yes indeedy, that was a sight. Long has she loved the mystery and fantasy genres, so she salutes Alex Bledsoe, who has combined two great genres and entertains us with a story that is simultaneously wicked funny and dark as a devil’s soul.
Gather close . . .
Eddie LaCrosse is a sword jockey, a sword for hire, who understands the need for discretion. A routine case becomes extraordinary when Eddie is summoned by the King of Arentia to solve the murder of the royal heir. Queen Rhiannon has been accused of an unspeakable crime, and King Philip wants Eddie to find the truth, but the truth follows a winding path into an underworld of gangsters and corruption.
This is Philip Marlowe meets Thieves World, and Alex Bledsoe mixes the mystery/fantasy genres with savage grace. Bledsoe segues from Eddie’s past to his present so two tales intertwine with style, and while the plot is labyrinthine, Bledsoe’s clear prose and dynamic pacing keeps the story moving.
The characters are real with heartbreaking betrayals, and the dialogue snaps. While there were light moments that made me laugh out loud, there is nothing frivolous about this dark tale. Eddie’s encounter with the goddess, Epona, was written with a nightmare quality worthy of any horror novel, and a macabre limerick that forms a clue never leaves your mind. Bledsoe ties his clues together neatly at the end without being trite, treating the reader to one ah-ha moment after another.
Finally, I am delighted to find a fantasy for adults who seek substance over fluff! I’ll be watching for more of Alex Bledsoe and so should you.