Title: Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd
Publisher: Gollancz: released: 7th July 2016
Reviewer: Andy Angel
All stories need a beginning, a middle and an end – that is an accepted, basic truth in fiction. Stranger of Tempest has all three of these but not necessarily in that order.
The story here is (as the cover says) ‘A mercenary on the hunt for a kidnapped girl’. Where it begins, though, is with the actual rescue of said ‘girl’ and right there, at that moment, you know everything is not quite what it seems. From this starting point (which is, essentially, ‘the middle’) we go back two weeks to where it all started (the beginning) where we find our hero Lynx, a warrior type, not in the best of shape, locked up in a local jail with very little idea of what he did to get there.
On his release he ends up joining a band of mercenaries for ‘just one job’. The Mercenaries are very much your standard adventure pack, plenty of witty banter, plenty of sniping at each other but prepared to die for each other when it all comes down to the heat of battle.
Then we are back to ‘Now’ and the rescue and escape is in full swing with our heroes fleeing into what I tend to think of as a typical Dungeons and Dragons landscape. Plenty of weird and wonderful creatures, lots of tunnels etc. to be investigated, plenty of hair’s breadth escapes…….and so it continues, backwards and forwards until you arrive, totally exhausted at the last page.
The passing of the story between now and then can get a little bit confusing at times and does give the story a bit of time travely feel but once you get used to the authors style it flows quite well. As I mentioned before, it does have a D and D feel to it, almost as if it started out as a game, and that for me is a good thing. The rapport between the group is really on point here, you feel like you are with old friends, friends you would want to be adventuring with again.
Story-wise I would put this on a level with Erikson, Abercrombie and James Barclay – Grimdark, band of brothers etc. but above all I would say this is a good, fun read. I am certainly looking forward to more in this series.
The only thing missing was some kind of map (I do like a good map) but that doesn’t detract from a great story, and this was a review arc copy, which often don’t come with maps anyway.