All Clay Cooper wanted to do was settle down, raise a family and try to put the past behind him. For ten years, he’d been doing just that. But when his old comrade in arms turns up at his door, asking for help, Clay can’t do anything other than help his friend save his daughter, save a city and maybe even save the world.
At its core, Kings of the Wyld has a very simple premise: what if the groups of mercenaries or adventurers common to many fantasy novels were treated like rock bands?
Fortunately, it’s an idea that works very well. Groups are described as taking tours of the wilderness to establish their monster killing credentials, they have agents to book their jobs & the like and, in the case of Clay & the other members of Saga, the repeated refrain is ‘getting the band back together’.
Far from resting on this basic conceit, Kings of the Wyld offers a number of other pleasures. The camaraderie between Saga’s members is at times foul-mouthed, bantering or poignant, but always rings true to the characters. And speaking of true to life characters, it’s refreshing to have one major character in this type of group be gay without it being a major plot point and another who discovers that rising to become a king isn’t the fix-all for some other stories would have it be.
The world-building is also a lot of fun, with hints about the history of the characters, their acquaintances and the places they visit dropped into the narrative, enough to keep the story moving but not too much to risk the dreaded infodump. Everything moves a goodly pace from beginning to end, with hardly any slow points to let things drag.
All in all, it’s a fun action-packed romp, with a fresh view on some fantasy tropes and some great dialogue along the way.