cover image The Coward

The Coward

Stephen Aryan. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-85766-888-2

Aryan (Battle Mage) takes an unlikely band of heroes on a nail-biting trek into a frozen world in this impressive fantasy, the first in the Quest for Heroes series. The legend of Kell Kressia is celebrated throughout the Five Kingdoms. Kell, initially an unwanted tagalong with the land’s greatest heroes as they set out to kill the Ice Lich that brought a killing winter down upon their world, is the one who beheaded the Lich and returned as the expedition’s only survivor. But Kell harbors deep guilt over the secret that his success was pure luck—and that his martyred fellows were all horrifically flawed. Now 10 years later, a new threat rises in the Frozen North, and Kell is the natural choice to put it down. He reluctantly takes up the mission, joined by a small band of warriors and misfits, each with secrets of their own. Hunted by humans and horrors, they face reckonings with Kell’s guilt and their world’s past. Packing in an epic’s worth of action and feeling, this thought-provoking fantasy argues that even the most vicious monster battles are less harrowing than the struggles within men’s souls. This is a knockout. [em]Agent: Juliet Mushens, the Agency Group. (June) [/em]