Old Man’s Ghosts. Book Review

ghostsOLD MAN’S GHOSTS by Tom Lloyd
Gollancz, h/b, 400pp, £16.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

This night is the kind of night when only the strongest of liquors will suffice, but Enchei realises he will not be left to drink his sorrows in peace. A stranger of landowner caste is in need of the same poison, or something else, perhaps. Memories never go, but having a stranger speak of them is something of a different nature entirely.

Lawbringer Narin’s lover is about to give birth – something her castrated husband is presumably none too thrilled about. Narin once saved the noble man’s life, after the shameful attack which left him unable to produce an heir, and with help, concealed the damage from the Wyvern lord’s peers. Will those deeds prove enough to forgive a betrayal of this scale?

This publication begins with a summary of Moon’s Artifice; a handy recap of what has gone before in this series, which in a genre of ever-increasingly complex and lengthy stories is a useful device we are seeing more and more frequently. Old Man’s Ghosts primarily follows the stories of Narin, as he faces the consequences of his actions, and Enchei, as he faces the consequences of his past.

Lloyd delivers another strong dose of modern fantasy with emphasis on the fight scenes and confrontations in this one, although the pace of the narrative is in no way slowed as a result. The characters are again likeable and more detail of this world, its caste system, and the demons beyond it are revealed through description that is handled to perfection.

The down side is that the events from Enchei’s past that drive much of the action are mostly left in the past, with the reader yet unclear on the details or the scale of the consequences… but perhaps more of that tale is yet to be told.