Visiting the Wyld

In case the articles I’ve done up to this point didn’t clue you in, I’m a bit of a fantasy nerd.

I’ve always seen books as a way of escaping reality, and so long as I’m going to another world, it might as well be one where I can have a pet dragon.

With this in mind, I read fantasy novels with a passion that some might classify as “slightly unhinged”. Fantasy is the first section of the book store that I visit, and is usually where I’m found several hours later when my parents realize they left someone behind. This worked out in my favor recently, however, as I stumbled onto a treasure called Kings of the Wyld.

It’s a fantasy story about what happens after the adventures are had. A group of some of the foremost adventures breaks up and goes their own way, until these paths bring them back together. It’s a masterful story, managing to balance goofy antics and pounding action with sudden and unexpected kicks to the feeling parts. The characters are some of the most likeable I’ve read, and the misadventure they wind up on is a type of entertaining that results in you not being seen in public for several days.

But, despite all this, there is one, central thing that makes this book one of my personal favorites. It subverts the norms of most adventure stories in a way that is both hilarious, and very gratifying for those like me that are deep in the fantasy bubble. The tropes that have become monotonous are spoofed, as a group of grizzled veterans that are very much done with the whole song and dance are thrown headfirst back into the thick of things.

The main characters aren’t badass rogues or heroic knights as much as they're old men that just want to sleep in a comfortable bed again. The story is, start to end, a spoof of the formula for writing an epic, and it’s beautiful. In case I haven’t sold it quite enough, here’s the back summary.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side fo the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help-the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together.

Check out the author's website here