It’s not often that we at 42 Webs receive a book before its release but when we do we cherish it. So when I was offered a chance to read The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp I jumped at the chance. I was happy I did.
Paul S. Kemp, known for his literary works in the Realms (the Forgotten ones) and in a galaxy far, far away, throws us into the world of his own concoction is The Hammer and the Blade. This story, the first in what is hopefully man in the Tales of Egil And Nix, is a derring don’t adventure staring…..well Egil and Nix.
Egil is a warrior-priest who worships the ‘Momentary God.” Seeing as the god doesn’t exist, and barely did, it doesn’t get many worshipers making Egil most likely the only one who does.
Nix is a sneak thief expelled from a wizard university after only one year. He knows how to steal, he knows how to pick locks and he knows all about magic….in theory.
When the two tomb-robbers slay a demon they unknowingly set forth a chain of events that leads to their next adventure. The demon, a key player in a demonic family pact, has left a sorcerer with little choice but to enlist the help of the duo.
I first dived into this book expecting a buddy-cop film scenario. I imagined Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal weapon or Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour. I don’t like you and you don’t like me but we have to work together. I didn’t get that. Instead I got a relationship between my two protagonists that closely resembles the relationships in Lethal Weapon 4 or Rush Hour 3. The two heroes know and trust each other without a moment’s hesitation. They laugh together, they joke, and the reference things in the past. This is what we get with Egil and Nix. We are treated to a healthy partnership and wonderful friendship between our heroes. It’s clear that aside from how they treat anybody else, these two will always have each others back. It’s good to see such loyalty in fantasy without the need to say the word HONOUR over and over.
The Hammer and the Blade has a chilling set of villains included in its roster, the trademark evil that Paul S. Kemp is known to bring to all of his work including the Forgotten Realms and Star Wars. The villain is not just some power-hungry wizard or world conquering warlord. Nor is he an evil god or fiendish devil. What we have is a man whose evil and greed itself makes him more terrifying then any god or devil could be. The funny thing about the antagonist is that on a first read I found him undeniably evil and terrifying that a person like him could possible exists but as I reread it I began to question if my villain was truly evil or just trapped between the evil rock and fiendish hard place. When the writing of a villain makes sit and ponder over how this character’s action could have changed if things had been different for him I know I have found a truly realistic character.
This book is wonderful, funny and exciting with a pinch of spine shivering evil added in for flavor. This book, due out 26 Jun 2012 in North America, is a great book not only for fantasy fans but for people looking for a good thriller.