cover image Kings of the Wyld

Kings of the Wyld

Nicholas Eames. Orbit, $14.99 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-0-316-36247-4

In this brilliant debut novel, Eames creates a high-energy epic fantasy adventure straight from a heavy metal album cover. Clay Cooper’s quiet retirement following his many adventures with Saga, a band of mercenaries, is interrupted when Saga’s ex-leader, Gabriel, begs for help rescuing his daughter, Rose, who has become a mercenary in her own right and is now under siege with no hope of escape. Putting the band back together requires getting an enchanted sword out of hock, retrieving their wizard from his search for a cure for the disease that killed his husband, getting their dagger man to give up being a king, and freeing their main muscle guy from dire imprisonment. Where dignified heroes would despair, Saga rises to every occasion, whether by old skill or uncanny good luck. Eames has cranked the thrills of epic fantasy up to 11 with gleeful disregard for restraint or good sense. The world is rich and exciting, with every classic fantasy monster on hand and a few delightfully horrifying new ones. Moreover, the plot is emotionally rewarding, original, and hilarious, and boasts a satisfying conclusion while leaving room for future books. Eames clearly set out to write something fun to read, and he has succeeded spectacularly. (Mar.)