cover image The Runes of Engagement

The Runes of Engagement

Tobias Buckell and Dave Klecha. Tachyon, $17.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61696-416-0

Bestseller Buckell (A Stranger in the Citadel) and debut author Klecha, a former Marine, pair their talents and experiences in an impressive military fantasy adventure that combines Middle Earth lore with U.S. marine mystique. When an interworld portal allows elves, orcs, trolls, and other storybook monsters to wreak havoc on Earth’s cities, a squad of Marines under the command of Staff Sergeant Ray Cale is dispatched across the portal with human coalition forces allied to the wood elves. The task: to escort the elven Lady Wíela to safety from the Corrupted One (“a force of evil and mayhem, ancient and brooding, that had been spreading across the world like a virus”), so she can negotiate an alliance between their worlds. Buckell and Klecha provide thrills a minute as Cale, who faced painful choices in Afghanistan and has only a rudimentary knowledge of Middle Earth, overcomes unearthly challenges with street smart know-how. The authors convincingly develop the personalities of both Cale’s squad and the nonhuman characters while offering genre fans an up-close look at Marine training. It’s an unlikely mash-up, but it works. (June)