Nov. 2015. 221p. Tor, paperback, $12.99 (9780765385307); Tor, e-book, $2.99 (9780765384003). REVIEW. First published November 15, 2015 (Booklist) Revenge is a powerful emotion, and if you are already a stone-cold killer, revenge can be a dangerous weapon as well. In this briskly paced, dark fantasy epic, the Captain, a mouse, is a brilliant and talented outlaw who was previously bested but is now determined to avenge his loss. He rounds up his old team of small animals (e.g. mole, badger, owl, salamander) to reignite the war between the brother Lords and reinstate “the Elder” to the throne. The characters are animals yes, but they are not the least bit cuddly. All are well trained assassins with a special talent, all are very good at job, all want their Lord to stay in power, and each spills plenty of blood along the way. This is Redwall all grown up with a Western sensibility. Expect excellent world-building, a huge cast of interesting characters, and a suspenseful, well executed storytelling style that keeps the reader guessing until the final page. Despite the high body count, there is also a satisfying amount of smart, dark humor here. A great option for fans of the off-kilter, The Sisters Brothers or the novels of the late Elmore Leonard. Three Words That Describe This Book: revenge, unique characters, not what you think Readalikes: This books surprised me-- in a good way. A fantasy with animals that is really a spaghetti western. There were parts of this book that reminded me of a Tarantino movie. I didn’t this in my official review, but I still can’t shake the similarity especially to Kill Billor Reservoir Dogs. Another readalike I couldn’t fit in the review is to True Grit by Charles Portis. Again, I think it’s the “not what you think” quality of both stories that is a match as well as the shared western sensibility.
I am a Librarian [MLIS] in Illinois specializing in serving leisure readers ages 13 and up. I train library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through their local public library. I am the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, 2d edition (ALA Editions, 2012). I am under contract to write content for EBSCO's NoveList database, reviews for Booklist, am a member of the Adult Reading Round Table Steering Committee, a 5 term Trustee for my local library, and am a proud member of The Horror Writers' Association. Check out the side bar for links to the groups and organizations with which I am affiliated.