cover image Strange Fortune

Strange Fortune

Josh Lanyon, . . Blind Eye, $14.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-1-935560-00-5

Mystery author Lanyon (the Adrien English series) makes his first foray into fantasy with a taut, energetic and romantic tale. In Hidush, an analogue for India in its final days as a British colony, a colonial religious group sends bisexual adventurer Maj. Valentine Strange and troubled witch Aleister Grimshaw to retrieve a goddess's lost diadem from a mountain monastery. As the two men are beset by traitors, wild animals, monks with political agendas and a spiritual force that threatens all of Hidush, their mutual attraction unfolds beautifully and dramatically. Beneath Lanyon's breezy pulp-style prose is a real (and mostly successful) effort to critique the genre's heritage of colonialism, racism and sexism, and though his research feels thin in a few place, there's still plenty to satisfy fans of fantasy, adventure and romance. (Dec.)