Review: The Fell Sword / Author: Miles Cameron / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Set in an alternative Middle Ages, The Fell Sword is the second book in the Traitor Son trilogy. The action spans a vast area – so much so that there’s a couple of maps at the beginning should you get lost – and it carries on from where the previous book, The Red Knight, left off. The titular hero and his armoured gang feature once again. However, as it is such a huge tome, some of the Red Knight and his company’s narrative is lost in the many strands of plot.
Epic both in imaginative scale and physical size – it weighs in at about 600 pages - it is a little bloated and sometimes lapses into prose so purple it’s royal violet. The action in the first half of the book flits around so much it’s sometimes difficult to remember who is who, especially as some of the characters’ names are interchangeable – for example, the young empress is also known as the princess.
There is a good deal of spot-the-high-fantasy-trope – a spotty youth with obvious magical powers, a black knight, wolves, an evil queen who’s insanely jealous of her pretty pregnant daughter-in-law who’s the wife of her favourite son, etc. There are talking trees, knights bantering in archaic language, and, of course, the eponymous Fell Sword – which actually doesn’t feature much in a great deal of the book. There are some great descriptions of blood baths with added gore, a gloriously terrible sex scene between Ghause and the Earl which is a possible contender for this year’s Bad Sex Award, and, of course, the near downfall of a kingdom
If you enjoyed the first book, then you’ll find this a nice, if long, follow-up. If you haven’t read the first books, or if you’re into Game of Thrones, flowery prose, actions scenes and beautiful women with shapely feet, you’ll love this. It’s all big, silly fun... well, until someone gets flayed or eaten by a boggle.