by David Tallerman
Review by Steve Sawicki
Angry Robot Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780857662118
Date: 31 January 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Easie Damasco is a minor thief who has recently decided to step up his game. Unfortunately his talent isn't quite up to that concept and he finds himself caught and in line to be quickly hung. Only the intervention of a passing, vicious, and conquering warlord manages to keep his neck from being stretched. Damasco, while saved, is not sure it's for the better as he finds himself conscripted as cannon fodder for a huge battle the next morning.
During the battle, luck, if you can call it that, seems to favor Damasco as a nearby giant loses its rider and he manages to take the dead man's place. Damasco uses the giant to not only attempt to flee the battle, but, in a stroke of brilliance, or so Damasco thinks, to rob the Warlord of a few prized possessions in the process. Unfortunately Damasco ends up taking something extremely important although it appears to be nothing much at all.
He quickly finds the warlord hot on his trail and is almost as quickly conscripted into the army that has been thrown together to fight off the warlord's advances. Before he realizes exactly what has happened he finds himself fleeing across the countryside, fighting in multiple battles, having dinner with and then robbing a neighboring king, and ending up trying to free the giants from their oppressors.
David Tallerman has written any number of short stories and, as far as I can tell, this is his first novel. It should be noted that the title includes the phrase, "From the Tales of Easie Damasco", which certainly implies that there are more novels coming. This would not be a bad thing. Tallerman tells a story with a pretty good mix of action, humor, intrigue and movement. The book is quickly paced and the dialogue is often snappy and witty. The book clearly falls into the sword and sorcery category and is just as clearly well written enough to deserve a follow up.
I enjoyed the book. It's always a bit of chance-taking to pick up an author you are not familiar with when it comes to finding something to read. In this case I am glad I did. Tallerman puts together an interesting read that makes you want to keep pages turning. The characters are definitely interesting. Additionally they are all motivated by a variety of interests albeit held together as a group by circumstances. This provides for enough natural conflict to keep things going. Definitely recommended.