Honour Under Moonlight
By Tom Lloyd
Published by Gollancz
E-Book Price: £1.99
Stranger of Tempest was one of the most enjoyable books I read last year. I’m a sucker for heroic fantasy outside of the traditional mould and Stranger of Tempest, with its mercenaries in tricorn hats armed with single shot weapons that fire magic ammunition, ticked a lot of boxes.
Honour Under Moonlight is a novella that follows on from Stranger of Tempest and focuses squarely on that book’s two lead characters. The big mercenary with an occasionally soft heart called Lynx and his current employer, and all round woman of lethal mystery, named Toil. The former is asked to the attend the Skyriver Ball by the latter only for Lynx to arrive at the address he’s been given and find the dead bodies of two assassins instead. What follows is Lynx attempting to find Toil and Toil dealing with her predicament in her own way.
It is a tightly paced story that carries you along even in the quieter moments where people aren’t being shot. The violence manages to be brutal without being described in visceral detail. The most shocking moment is when Lynx is waterboarded. The danger of using a method of torture that we know is still used today is that it can dilute the horror of it and make it seem like it’s not that bad. To Tom Lloyd’s credit it is shown to be something that the big mercenary is scared of because it is a horrifying experience and not something he just shrugs off. A vicious thing done by vicious people who are trying to kill Toil and don’t much care who they walk over to get the job done.
While Lynx and Toil are the main attraction we get to see some other members of Anatin’s Mercenary Deck, though Lloyd is smart enough not to try and shoehorn them all into the story for the sake of it. We get to see Sitain, the untrained night mage that Lynx rescued in Stranger of Tempest, as a more integrated member of the Cards. While she’s still not a well drilled killer like the rest of them she’s finding her place and her developing familial relationship with Lynx makes for some fun exchanges between the two.
This is a punchy, action-packed, fantasy thriller that is well worth a read. If you’ve yet to read Stranger of Tempest and you’re not sure if you want to commit to starting a new series then Honour Under Moonlight is standalone enough to give you a taste of the tone and action. If you like this you’ll enjoy Stranger of Tempest and likewise if you enjoyed Stranger of Tempest you’ll like this. It certainly helped tide me over until the release of the next novel, Princess of Blood.
The world of The God Fragments really lends itself well to the novella format and I would enjoy more of these in the future. I strongly recommend seeking this one out.