Stranger of Tempest. Book Review

Gollancz. h/b. 481pp. £12.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Lynx’s damsel in distress turns out to be far from it, in fact, and his rescue mission has just become something entirely else.  She is more than capable of rescuing herself, and is doing just that, completely naked to boot. Hired mercenary he may be, but Lynx has no idea what this job will turn out to be.

Hogtied, hungover and his memory of the night before firmly fuzzy, Lynx awakens to find himself in a jail cell. On top of that, his fellow prisoner appears to be threatening him. Him! Hogtied, hungover and fuzzy he may be, but Lynx is still not a man to be messed with, as his would-be attacker is about to find out.

There is a good spattering of these fun elements in Stranger of Tempest which is good, because the overriding narrative follows Lynx as he joins and journeys with a band of mercenaries, finding himself dragged into more than one unexpected situation. The prejudices of this character’s past follow along with him and are used well to introduce the reader to this world and its history.

Lynx is the main driver of the story but as the book progresses other key characters take on some point of view roles filling in those elements of the narrative that Lynx himself is not privy to and rounding off the tale, as well as putting key moments on display to build tension.

As we know from his previous work Tom Lloyd writes a good story, but what stands out about this one – given its core elements of high fantasy, magic and mercenaries are nothing out of the ordinary – is that Lynx as a hero has nothing particularly special about him. Lots of the traditional genre tropes have been omitted and the result is a solid ‘no frills’ story with a strong lead and a few wonderful female characters propelling and dragging him along in turn.