The Silver Tide (2016): Jen Williams


The Copper Cat Trilogy: Book III

Now back in London after some adventures with my parents, I’m trying to catch up on a backlog of posts about books, plays and operas, so do bear with me. First of all, it’s time to say goodbye to the dauntless heroes of the Black Feather Three, because this is the last book in Jen Williams’s fantasy series. As you might expect, Wydrin, Frith and Sebastian find themselves up against their greatest challenge yet and, in the course of a book filled with pirates, mages, haunted forests, gods, the fabric of time and, of course, almost certain death, there’s hardly time to draw breath. I’ve certainly enjoyed the series: all the way through, Williams has managed to combine the key components of sword-and-sorcery with a knowing humour that keeps it all very lively and modern. And I’ve realised that I’m really going to miss the three main characters. Especially Wydrin.

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The Iron Ghost (2015): Jen Williams


The Copper Cat Trilogy: Book II

In the second instalment of Jen Williams’s sword-and-sorcery extravaganza, we rejoin our three heroes, now calling themselves the Black Feather Three: Wydrin, the titular Copper Cat of Crosshaven; the disgraced knight Sir Sebastian; and the aristocratic mage Aaron Frith. Their new job has brought them out to the mountainous wilds of Skaldshollow, where they finds themselves cast into the middle of an age-old rivalry between the Skalds and their neighbours, the Narhl. All they have to do is retrieve the Heart-Stone, a precious artefact crucial to the Skalds, but sacred to the Narhl, who have stolen it. It should have been easy. And yet, before they know what’s happened, our three adventurers find themselves caught up in another terrifying tale of ancient magic, demons, blood, ruined cities and the living dead.

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The Copper Promise (2014): Jen Williams


The Copper Cat Trilogy: Book I

My to-read pile for the Summer Without Men project includes rather a lot of sober books examining the human condition. It was refreshing to offset those with Jen Williams’s novel, which swaggered its way to the top of the list with the ease of a roistering sell-sword in a shabby tavern. I’ve meant to read The Copper Cat for some time and I decided this was the perfect moment, as I inch closer to my holidays. A loving tribute to the golden age of sword-and-sorcery, The Copper Promise is a gleeful romp complete with an odd couple of mercenaries, a fledgling mage, haunted ancient ruins, magical artefacts, murderous gods, and even a dragon. Yet it’s written with a lighthearted modern touch and our ‘heroes’ are a well-drawn and diverse bunch. It’s a jolly good fantasy adventure, fresh and fun while affectionately respecting the genre’s conventions.

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