A Demon in Silver by R. S. Ford. Book Review

Titan Books. p/b. 400pp. £7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

To the other mercenaries, she is just the duchess, pleasing on the eye, and the object of today’s mission. Hired to keep her safe on her journey it is a dull, unglamorous duty, but it will pay well. But to Josten Cade she is much more than a job and much more than the duchess, despite the obvious dangers it places them both in.

Livia Harrow is a simple farm girl. Ben raised her and loved her after her parents were gone, and she is as fond of his stories now as she was as a child. Foreign lands, magic powers, The Fall and the Blood Lords… she relishes in them all. But as Ben will soon discover, perhaps his ward is not just a simple farm girl, after all.

A Demon in Silver is book one of his War of the Archons series and the author allows ample time with the opening characters, solidifying their situations and motives before moving onto others, which is always a welcome structure at the start of a new contemporary fantasy series. Josten and Livia are the stand out characters here but there is a rich and complex landscape with other beings and other wants to consider as the story progresses.

The fast pace and wry narrative voice, particularly in the opening scenes with Josten, leave no room for hesitancy or procrastination. On goes the story, on come the revelations and on comes the next piece of action. Readers of Ford’s previous work will recognise the tone and appreciate the darker elements of the action.

The way some characters are introduced very late in the narrative is a bold and effective technique; it works to inject new dynamics just as the reader is settling into a comfort zone. However, whilst the story begins in a linear fashion, with a prologue to cover off other beings in another period of time, as the book progresses the timeline and places become non-linear and there is a period where events become hard to follow until you have pushed through to later sections. This is probably one of those books which will become richer and deliver more clarity on a second read.