The Man with One Name
A Tale of the God Fragments (Book 0.5)
by Tom Lloyd
Fantasy | 68 Pages | Published by Gollancz in 2018
| TL;DR |
Offering a gritty and Western style adventure, The Man With One Name introduces a younger, more sober Lynx before he finds himself a part of Anatin’s Mercenary Deck. Action-packed, exciting and just a little bit on the short side, this prequel is a fitting introduction to a series that always leaves the reader wanting more.
| Synopsis |
Salterin is a town full of fear. Fear and sheep. But mostly fear.
It lies in the north of a principality recently shattered by the Hanese war, cut off from its neighbours and warily watching the advance of winter. Bandits and wolves haunt the woods, but something worse lies within. A monster named Therian has installed himself as lord of the manor and no one is foolish enough to oppose him.
In their hour of need comes a man with one name. A man who will not suffer monsters. Or mutton. But mostly monsters.
| Review |
More than a year has past since the Hanese war, and Therian, a thug and self-appointed lord, has assumed control of the town of Salterin where cruelty and lawlessness now prevails.
Lynx, a drifter and a gunslinger, blows into the troubled town just when it needs him most. Striking up an unlikely friendship with local sheep farmer Sulay, a hardened old woman with a love for herding dogs, Lynx sets out to right the wrongs that fall at his doorstep and protect Salterin from the mounting trouble within.
A troubled town. A strange drifter. A convenient job opening as lawman. In a tale where even the title is an homage to Eastwood and the Western genre, The Man With One Name proves a fun and engaging twist on familiar Western tropes. And with only a hint of the gambling, drinking and debauchery we have grown accustomed to in The God Fragments, this prequel provides both a fitting introduction and an interesting background to Tom Lloyd’s brilliant protagonist.
Lynx, an ex-soldier of So Han, is a man with a past who strives to do the right thing even when it could cost him his life or his freedom. As he falls into the position of Salterin’s lawman, a position that reflects both his honour and his affinity for trouble, we are granted a brief but fascinating insight into his character before his association with Anatin’s Mercenary Deck.
With more than a hint of the Wild West, and described with the familiar richness we’ve come to expect from Lloyd’s writing, this novella introduces us to the untamed, rustic lands that lie between bustling towns. And with characters comprising an intriguing array of the good, the bad and the undoubtedly ugly, we are given a fascinating snapshot of those inhabiting this beautifully rendered frontier town turned dictatorship.
With particular favourites in Sulay, a grizzled and feisty sheep farmer, along with her herding dogs, whose lovable and dangerous nature quite often steal the show, this short novella manages to field both interesting characters and maintain more than a hint of the action-packed, bloody and descriptive writing that Stranger of Tempest wields with abandon.
Highly entertaining, if a little short, The Man With One Name provides a fitting, Western style introduction to The God Fragments that is entirely self-contained. And, after whetting my appetite for a meaty, mercenary caper, I believe it’s high time that I added Princess of Blood to my library.