Forget George and the dragon. Forget Sir Lancelot and tales of knightly exploits. This is dirty, bloody work. This is violent, visceral action. This is a mercenary knight as you've never seen one before.
Twenty-eight florins a month is a huge price to pay for a man to stand between you and the Wild.
Twenty-eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders.
But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or, worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.
It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.
The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an abbess and her nunnery, it's just another job.
The abbey is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with. Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war....
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It's the marriage between authentic detail, subtle humour and a range of different and carefully wrought story-lines that makes this one of the best books I've listen to in a while. It's a rather novel take on the fantasy genre, too. It's a fantasy/historic novel cross-over and not the worse for it.
It's really engaging and the characterisation avoids stereotypes. There are heroes dressed as anti-heroes and vice-versa. There are as many powerful women as men, which always gets my vote. Equally, there are vain and shallow women but just as many men sharing the same unflattering characteristics. There are a range of interesting themes such as the class-system, dysfunctional relationships and the rights and wrongs of other cultural, moral and social constructs. The story-lines are carefully constructed and despite the length of this book, they never seem laboured.
Wolf's performance is another highlight. He has to cope with a massive range of characters and the variety of accents he manages are believable and generally well maintained. Yes, there are a few accent inconsistencies but there are so MANY characters this minor criticism hardly seems worth mentioning.
King Arthur meets Patrick Bateman
The best value for money I've had in a long while.
Outsharps Richard Sharpe
I recommend this book to anyone who wants a great story, well written and well read. I bought the second book because the first was so good; roll on number three.
The Red Knight as the central character was written in such a way the other characters played off him and brought out their own personalities.
Thorn, even as an evil character was played in a way that you wanted to know how far he would go despite the material he had to work with.
This book was too long to read in one sitting but it was finished within a couple of days; in time to get right into the Fell Sword.
I object to having to wait patiently for Book three.