Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Return of Egil and Nix

A Discourse in Steel
Paul S. Kemp
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
Date: 4th July 2013
ISBN: 9780857662521
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
US/CAN Print
Date: 25th June 2013
ISBN: 9780857662538
Format: Small (Mass Market) Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 CAN$9.99
Date: 25th June 2013
ISBN: 9780857662545
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

In my review of the first book in this series, The Hammer and the Blade, I said that it reminded me why sword and sorcery was fun in the first place.  The same is true for A Discourse is Steel.  This is adventure fantasy at its finest.

Egil and Nix befriended two young ladies at the conclusion of the previous book.  Early in this one, one of them (Rose) is reading the mind of a master criminal (at his request) when he's assassinated.  Some of the information he knows ends up in Rose's head. 

So a very dangerous criminal organization tries to kill her, and in the process nearly kills her sister Mere, Egil, Nix, and a number of their friends and associates.  In the words of the great general Bugs Bunny, "Of course, you know this means war."

Egil and Nix find themselves fighting a grudge match to the death with some pretty dangerous dudes, namely The Thieves Guild.

There's all kinds of action in this one.  The body count is high.  The excitement never stops.  The pacing is relentless.  Yet at the heart of the book is a story about friendship and loyalty and sacrifice.  The characters wrestle with their actions and the consequences of those actions.  Underneath all the adventure are some serious themes.

Over the course of the novel, we see more of the world Kemp has created.  There are some interesting things out there.  Whether they return in future volumes remains to be seen.  Egil and Nix

Egil and Nix are complicated characters, flawed, conflicted, trying to do the right thing, and very much a team.  Even though they bicker like an old married couple at times.  If there's anything to complain about in this book, and I couldn't find much, it's that the back and forth between them got to be a little much at times.  But only a little.  

This was a fantastic book.  If you live here in the States or in Canada, the book should have hit shelves today.  It will be out in a little over a week in the rest of the world.  Look for it.  Kemp is a superb writer.  If you enjoy sword and sorcery, adventure, and nonstop action, this is the book for you.

I'd like to thank Angry Robot Books for the review copy.  I'd include an excerpt, but Angry Robot hasn't posted one yet.  Don't let that stop you.


  1. Fun and adventure. More of what I read books for!

    1. If it's not fun, I don't see much point in reading it.