The Copper Promise by Jen Williams : Review

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There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel…

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him … and now someone is  going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There’s the promise of gold and  adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they’re done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they’re not even getting paid.

Originally released as a series of four novellas, the paperback release of the Copper Promise by Jen Williams brings them together to form what I hope is only the first book in an already amazing series. I don’t usually go in for books that are released as a series of short stories or novellas, I find that they tend to be a little too muddled or disjointed for my liking. I really loved the cover art for the Copper Promise though, and a friend of mine was kind enough to send me a copy from England since it has yet to be published in the US. I was fairly surprised at how well written and cohesive I found the story to be, I really could not tell it was originally released in four separate pieces. I found the story to be an enjoyable throwback to the old school sword and sorcery stories I grew up reading.

The Copper Promise tells the story of Frith, a disfigured and crippled noble on a quest for revenge against those who wronged him and his family. When the holy warrior turned mercenary Sebastian and his companion Wydrin are hired by Frith to explore and loot the fabled Citadel they soon discover that more than just gold and jewels are contained within its cold stone walls. Soon Frith, Sebastian and Wydrin find themselves to be all that stands between the destruction of their world by an angry and forgotten horror.

I really can’t describe how much I enjoyed this book, there wasn’t really anything about it I didn’t enjoy. The characters really made this story for me, they were all fleshed out with their own complicated pasts and unique traits and qualities. Wydrin the Copper Cat of Crosshaven, with her witty and crass humor stood out above all the others, she was the type of character you wish you could take out for a night of drinks. I honestly don’t think there was a single cardboard cutout characters in the entire book, which is really saying something considering how long the story is.

I think anyone who is a fan of the great old-school fantasy stories like the Lord of the Rings will really enjoy the Copper Promise. Unfortunately it is only available at this time from Headline publishing, and so it hasn’t been released outside of the UK. I really hope to see this book published in other territories, I truly think it deserves to be read by a much wider audience. Until then though I would suggest anyone who is interested in reading it look to the Book Depository to order it.

I would rate this book up there as one of the best books I have read this year, and I’m tempted to order a second copy myself just so I have one to loan out or give away as a gift.

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