The Grim Company by Luke Scull

My most recent book was The Grim Company by Luke Scull which I thoroughly enjoyed!  In fact, let’s not be stingy – I loved.

The Grim Company follows the fortunes of a number of people who eventually come together, not always amicably, on a mission of sorts.  Many years ago the magelords of the world united to overthrow and kill the Gods and yet far from creating a perfect world the remaining mages have grown into tyrants, the power in the world is slowly ebbing away and the remaining traces or elements of the Gods result in abominations and demons that spill forth and threaten to overpower entire villages.

The book certainly starts how it means to continue.  No messing about or hand holding here.  We are introduced, albeit briefly, to a couple of the inhabitants of Shadowport who are celebrating the news of their victory over the war with Dorminia.  This is to be a short lived celebration as Salazar, the Magelord from Dorminia, has other plans (which I won’t elaborate upon here).  Basically we have a number of threads that we follow.  Not necessarily in this order we have a remote highlands village where a young sorceress, Yllandris, lover of the King of Fangs, plots to become Queen.  The Highlands are a tough place to live.  Brutal and uncompromising and seemingly the first in line for any potential demonic attacks.  In Dorminia we are introduced to a band of would-be rebels (called the Shard) who plot to overthrow Salazar.  And, alongside this we meet up with two lone Highlanders on the run from their village and under constant threat of discovery and death.  The plot, bluntly, is kill the tyrant and live happily ever after.  The means of achieving this is far from that simple however and the reading along the way is grisly, entertaining, adventurous, sometimes downright funny and at others horrific.

For me, the world was easy to imagine, there’s plenty of action which is very well described and brings the fighting scenes to life rather than feeling like a running commentary, there’s plenty of the unusual with some pretty horrendous demonic characters and there are twists and turns that I didn’t expect, but the best part of the story is without doubt the characters.  The characters are well rounded with interesting back stories that build slowly sometimes turning your initial impressions on their head.

Cole, one of the members of the Shard is a total arse!  I’m sorry but he really is.  Having been brought up with the constant reinforcement of his own would-be-hero status, he’s all blown up with self importance.  Constantly flourishing his magic sword and spouting his name in what he believes to be a dramatic fashion.  In spite of his buffoonery (and let’s face it, I wasn’t really expecting the hero of the piece to be an annoying so and so) Cole does provide a lot of entertainment throughout the story as he dives enthusiastically into any given situation only usually to find himself unstuck.  I must confess that Scull does turn Cole around in the latter chapters when he finally realises that the actual ‘doing’ part of becoming a hero is far removed from the dream he’s always envisioned.  The actual real hero is Brodar Kayne, one of the two Highlanders on the run from the Higlands magelord.  Both tough old dudes with creaky knees and filthy mouths – don’t underestimate them.  They’re tougher than leather these two and provided a great deal of entertainment.  On top of that we have a bitter and highly sarcastic half mage – half, because his legs were removed by Salazar when he culled all the mages within his territory leaving only Eremus alive.  On top of this we have Sasha – a feisty female member of the Shard.  The object of Cole’s devotion she’s handy with a crossbow and goes into battle with the guys.  We also have the sorceress, Yllandris – she’s definitely intriguing.  I wait to see how she develops given how the story ends!  And, the Grey Lady – her and her followers are one bunch of creepy dead eyed women!

I didn’t have any real criticisms although I thought the confrontation with Salazar could have had a bit more oomph!  Minor niggle though.

Undoubtedly this will be compared with other recent fantasy works which I suppose is inevitable.  I won’t deny that there are a good few nods to other works but I still thought this was a great debut.

Anyway, enough!  I thought this was a compelling read and providing you don’t mind a bit of cussing and profanity, a bit of slashing followed by glistening entrails and a bit of grit then get right on this.  After all, the grim and the dark are not all that’s going on here.  It’s going to be a long wait for No.2!

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6 Responses to “The Grim Company by Luke Scull”

  1. TBM

    More ooomph! love it! I like the word niggle. I need to start using it more. Hope the wait for number 2 isn’t too long 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I figure the wait will be at least 12 months but in fantasy series that really a mere bagatelle!
      Lynn 😀

  2. jessicabookworm

    Not sure I’m brave enough for ‘glistening entrails’!! I hope you don’t have to wait long for the next book. I have little patience for waiting to find out what happens next! Hence why I often start series once their finished or there are plenty of instalments already published to keep me going.

    • lynnsbooks

      Starting the series a it later or when it’s finished is definitely a good idea, however, I’m a raging dunce and my impatience gets the better of me so every time I rush out and buy up the first in the series!
      Lynn 😀

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