Kings of the Wyld is a fast-paced fantasy adventure. The clever idea of a world where mercenary groups are treated like rock bands is a great start. But it’s where Nicholas Eames takes this concept that makes the book a real rock star.
Clay Cooper’s glory days are long behind him. He spends his days on watch looking out at a mountain where nothing ever happens and then goes home to a wife and daughter who love him. Then one day, Gabriel the former leader of Saga, Clay’s band of mercenaries, shows up at his doorstep. Gabe’s daughter Rose is a mercenary in her own right but she’s trapped in the walled city of Castia, surrounded by a horde of monsters and facing all but certain death. Gabe plans to rescue her but he needs Clay’s help. They need to put the band back together.
If just reading that line puts a smile on your face, then this is the book for you. It’s an adventure full of excitement and humor and surprising moments of real emotion. Most of the members of Saga have aged and settled into new lives, from Matrick who is now a king to Moog, the pajama wearing wizard who finances his arcane research with the profits from a magical erectile dysfunction cure he invented. Ganelon, the remaining band member, has been turned to stone for crimes committed around the time the band broke up.
Putting the band back together takes up the first part of the book and allows the opportunity to get to know the various characters. Once the band is reunited, they must cross the Heartwyld. A vast forest filled with every monster imaginable. On the other side is a horde laying seige to Castia. The forest and the horde is home to more monsters than I’ve seen in any three fantasy novels. That’s part of what makes this book so fun. It is over the top outlandish with great action, wonderful humor and emotional moments that touch you when you least expect them and keep everything grounded. Gabe’s rousing call to battle is a speech that almost made me want to take up a sword and charge onto the field.
This book is a tremendous amount of fun, all the more remarkable that it’s a debut novel. The conclusion wraps up the story arc nicely, while making it clear that this is a world where plenty more adventures are waiting to be had. The world-building is wonderful and populated, no stuffed, with fascinating creatures and characters. Buckle up for a wyld ride. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.
Description: Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay's door with a plea for help--the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It's time to get the band back together.