Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.
eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap
shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to
rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard,
leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against
the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.
It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.
Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined
to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess
and her nunnery, it's just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are
pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with.
Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war. . .
-from the book description
The Red Knight, by Miles Cameron
The Red Knight features a wide cast of characters, with each chapter
giving us a different point of view. Our primary point of view is the
Red Knight himself, a young mercenary commander. The Red Knight might be
young, but he knows his business. I don’t put spoilers in my reviews,
so I’ll just mention that there is more to the Red Knight than (of
course) first meets the eye. Besides the Red Knight we have a rich cast
of characters, including the novel’s primary antagonist. I enjoyed
getting both the “good guy” AND “bad guy” point of views.
building: This had to be one of my favorite elements of the novel.
Cameron has taken Europe (circa 1450, I estimate) and tuned it to his
own fantasy setting. You’ll recognize names and places from European
history, some straight out of the history books, some given interesting
twists. The book combines the author’s deep knowledge of history with a
truly refreshing, well thought out overlay of magic and fantastic
monsters (some you’ll recognize, some you won’t). It is a gritty, highly
suspension of disbelief: Cameron is a historian and a reenactor. Both
come through in spades when it comes to engagement. Small details of
everyday life create a rich, believable atmosphere. And Cameron
certainly knows how to write a gripping combat scene. Knights in other
fantasy novels wear the same armor, but in the Red Knight you really get
to know what is means to be in a full suit of plate. It is obvious that
the author has spent his fair share of time in full harness.
Writing/Mechanics: The Red Knight is a professionally written novel. Besides getting an exciting
story, you are getting a well-written story. It is not all blood and
guts, Cameron takes time to smell the roses. Love and hate, the nature
of good and evil, the meaning of loyalty and friendship... Cameron
writes them as well as he writes a deadly battle with a wyvern.
A terrific fantasy novel. It isn’t a YA fantasy, this is a tough,
realistic telling of a bloody war in a fantasy setting. It also isn’t a
Dungeon’s and Dragons knock off - which is a great relief. It has the
depth, complexity and realism of GRR Martin in a world where magic and
monsters are more the norm. I can’t wait for more.