Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
Published: February 2017
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.
Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.
It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
These men are legends, rockstars, and shouldn’t be fighting battles anymore but here we are. 20 years after disbanding, Gabe’s daughter is trapped in a city on the other side of the Wyld, death knocking. His only hope is Clay Cooper, our MC, to help him bring the band of warriors back together, beer bellies and aching backs and all. And you know what? They follow. They know it’s crazy, they know death is far more inevitable now that they’re out of shape and older, but for the first time in their lives, they actually have something worth fighting for.
What a riot of a good time! The language is funny and accessible, and Eames does an excellent job of grounding the characters and really making the relationships feel long-established. Plus, how often do you get to see a grown child shout “Dad?!” when one of those bandmates — your friends — does something weird or stupid? It’s like Robin Hood twenty years later, rehashing the glory days while try to adjust to this older body and familiar moves. So fun. So hilarious. And so…vivid. Real.
I would highly recommend this to someone new to fantasy as well as a long-time fan. Yes there’s a map, and funny names and interesting history, plus hordes of creatures familiar and brand new, but the magic of this realm is not the point of the story: it’s about survival, adjustment, standing together with your friends even when it feels like a lost cause. I’m really looking forward to reading Bloody Rose!