What Remains of Heroes byDavid Benem #SPFBO
What Remains of Heroes is another of my SPFBO books and I must say it’s a good tale and well written.
This story takes us to a medieval style world where the forces of good and evil are once again pitting their wits. Told from multiple point of views we are immediately introduced to the key players.
Lannick is a disgraced army captain, formerly a hero. His family are dead and he now spends the majority of his time staring at the bottom of the tankard. Lannick was a captain in the army but he actually has another role and his captaincy was a secondary fiddle really. This will all become clear and so I don’t want to elaborate.
Bale is a cleric, timid and book loving. He’s going to find himself taking on a much bigger role than he’s comfortable with. Really pushed outside his comfort zone! He will be sent out on his own to try and locate a key figure, a Sentinel. Sentinels are like lesser Gods, if you will and during the course of this book – one of them has gone missing under mysterious circumstances which I won’t elaborate on.
Karnag is a mercenary, well actually an assassin for hire. Hard bitten, totally unforgiving. He likes his line of work – you could say he’s more a ‘live to work’ type of guy rather than a ‘work to live’ one. He’s been hired for a very lucrative job and he and his motley crew are in search of their prey.
The plot – well, there’s no shortage of action. There’s a plot to overthrow the king who remains without heir. At the same time an invading force are attacking and working their way across the land. The forces of evil are once again stirring with the shadows becoming places to fear and Karnag and his band of assassins are in search of a man who is pivotal to the safety of the country.
Now, what I really liked about this is that the author manages to not get stuck in the usual ruts. His characters don’t go down the path you at first expect. There’s no immediate cure for Lannick. He doesn’t just snap out of his morose alcoholism to become a hero overnight. He pretty much continues to wallow around. Bale. Well he starts off a bookish unlikely hero and he pretty much continues in the same fashion and Karnag – well, his role is usurped completely by Fencress, one of his assassins. Obviously he still makes an appearance but Fencress, I thought, pretty much stole the show.
I must say that I got off to a really good start with this one. The writing is good, the author sets the scene well and the characters are unusual on top of which there is some very good imagination going on here.
What brought this novel down a little for me were a combination of things. Firstly, there was a little bit of repetition with the characters. For example, Bale was constantly thinking that he wasn’t the right man for the job and so was Lannick! I can understand the self doubt to be honest because of their individual circumstances but I felt like the author kept reinforcing the point which wasn’t really necessary. There was also quite a bit of info dumping during conversations which ended up making them seem quite unwieldy. Lastly, for some reason that I really can’t put my finger on and could simply be a ‘mood’ factor was that I lost my focus during the latter third of the book. I don’t know why but my interest just really dipped. I really don’t know why but it made my enjoyment of the book wane a little.
On the whole I think this is a good read with some very intriguing elements. I would be interested in reading the second book not only to see if my reading of this was affected by mood but also to see where the author takes the story next.