Hey you! Yeah, you on the phone, scrolling around the internet. Are you bored? Are you looking for a good book? A good fantasy novel, perhaps?
But The Thorn of Emberlain isn’t even out yet!
I know, I know—right? Boy, won’t we all jump when we see that one hit the shelves, eh? Scott Lynch is amazing! But I was thinking, in the meantime, you could maybe check out a series very much in the same vein…
But I thought Sebastien de Castell had finished the Greatcoats series. Right?
No, not the Greatcoats (great as those are), not the Gentlemen Bastards, either. Another series. A new series (well, new to you) that maybe you haven’t heard of. It’s called The Saga of the Redeemed, and if you like de Castell and Lynch, then you’re definitely going to enjoy this one.
Got a lot of internet to scroll, man. Gimmie the pitch or I’m out.
It’s about this guy named Tyvian—he’s a self-absorbed, vain, narcissistic jackass. He also happens to be a genius and a criminal mastermind. A classic antihero—wise-cracking, cynical, and with a mean streak a mile wide. Tyvian likes his life, enjoys his fine clothes and his expensive wine, and especially likes smuggling illegal magical items to sell to the highest bidder.
His problem, though, is that he’s just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river (as is customary). To make matters worse, the weird guy who rescues him slips this magic ring on his finger—a magic ring that won’t let him do evil things. And he can’t take it off!
Now he’s got to get revenge, but without being evil. And he’s pissed about it.
Sounds dark. What’s it got to do with Lynch and de Castell?
My book here fits right in with those fine authors. It’s part caper, part spy movie, part swashbuckler. There’s elaborate swordplay, backstabbing, secret conspiracies, clever plots. I’ve got thieves guilds and mage-cops, trains that run on angry demons, crazed warlords, magic swords, alchemically addicted junkies, and secret cabals of evil sorcerers. Enough to tickle every fantasy itch!
The action is fast paced, the plot twists are frequent, and, at the heart of it all, is a guy who is going to have to figure out what “being a good person” actually means and decide whether he actually wants to change.
A redemption story? That doesn’t sound too dark?
Tyvian has a long way to go as a person before he’s actually a good guy. It doesn’t happen in one book. It doesn’t happen in two. I’m hoping it happens by book four, or the series is going to be a bit of a misnomer, now isn’t it?
The point is that, amid all the swordplay and pithy banter and narrow escapes, there’s a central moral question being debated: what makes a good man? Is it his deeds? His intentions? The outcomes of his deeds? Can a bad man ever really be good? Is a good man just lying to himself, blocking out all the bad results of his good decisions?
It’s easy to tell yourself that redemption can happen in a weekend—we see it in movies all the time—but in my book, personal growth takes time and is painful. So dark? Maybe not.
But it sure isn’t light and it sure isn’t easy.
The Saga of the Redeemed, eh? Where do I start?
Book 1 is called The Oldest Trick, which you can either buy all at once (recommended), or in two halves (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood, respectively). After that comes book 2, No Good Deed. Book 3, Dead But Once comes out in March 2018 and the conclusion to the series will be coming out after that in Book 4, The Far Far Better Thing. Go check it out! And thank you!
On the day Auston Habershaw was born, Skylab fell from space. This was a portent of two possible fates: scifi/fantasy author or Evil Mastermind. Luckily, he chose the former. He is a winner of the Writers of the Future Award, and his work has appeared in places such as Analog, Stupefying Stories, and The Sword and Laser Anthology. He lives and works in Boston.