Talus and the Frozen King
by Graham Edwards
Review by Steve Sawicki
Solaris Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781781081990
Date: 25 March 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Bran has been following the Bard Talus across the lands, looking for the top of the world. Both are driven by loss and have given much, before and on the journey. Their path has not been a straight line, rather a crooked one more driven by circumstance than need. This time, as the two camp on a cliff top, they are called to act by loud and sudden screams that come from a close island that can be reached only by sea or by a causeway that can be traversed at low time.
If there is one thing that Talus can not resist it is a mystery and the story behind it. As Talus and Bran reach the island they find chaos. The king is dead, murdered in a bizarre way, frozen solid, and six grieving sons all claim revenge. Talus is quickly caught up in the mystery and begins to seek out and unravel clues that lead to a surprising result.
Graham Edwards is tagged with creating the world's first detective in his character Talus. I'm not sure that's accurate but the point is less on whether that is accurate or not and more on whether the book is worth getting through.
Talus is an interesting character and his companion Bran is as well. The two of them form a classic detective and companion set even if it is during a time unmentioned but seriously long ago. Clues are clues after all and a good detective is adept at finding them and then making sense of the story they tell. And who better to piece together a story than a bard.
I was not sure at first whether I was liking this book. It started a bit slow and the characters had no zest to them. But, Edwards seemed to find his pace a few chapters in and it ended up being worth hanging on. This is an interesting premise, the detective with nothing but knowledge of people and skills of observation and questioning put against time and deception. Edwards pulls it off with a bit of the Scandinavian broken people style thrown in as both Talus and Bran are seeking redemption for past failures. Enjoyable and recommended.