Author: Steve Westcott
The following review was contributed by: Molly Martin: CLICK TO VIEW Molly Martin's Reviews
Mishtar’s two centuries of imprisonment within a vault of legerdemain deep within Mount Aine have honed the sorcerer’s temper to a razor sharp edge. Anticipatory he felt the magical power binding him was at last weakening. Just one unintentional dunderhead was all he needed and Mishtar would once again be released to commit devastation and retaliation upon the peoples of Middle Vooragh. It was the notion of retaliation that Mishtar savored most.
A witty wizard, and his inapt klutz of an apprentice, the last descendant of a dragon mounted race, The Ogmus , an ingenious Sister of The New Dawn, and a heroically unsuited and unwitting, coward Ryzak prove to be unintentional heroes about to toss a clog into Mistar’s malicious designs. Lethal elves, dragons, cannibals, flying lizards, and a contingent of daft barbaric warrior tribes, all join the effort to thwart Mishtar’s plans for revenge.
The narrative opens in the small village of Fleshwick with the reader stepping into the teeming excitement of the common room of The Shepherd’s Cock – formerly known as The Shepherd’s Crock until someone removed the ‘r’. Blissfully unaware of the tumult, Ryzak slept through all the pandemonium. A loud and sudden altercation involving homicidal maniac Sawn-off Sam and the tavern croupier brought Ryzak back to reality. Within moments drink-dulled reflexes prevented Ryzak from avoiding the unexpected blow sent his way by the serving girl. From that ignominious beginning the reader is carried on a fast paced romp including a screaming girl in tatters, Wolverines, a bit of chicanery, a missing prison seal and a ‘girl’ named Shula. Ryzak is off on a quest to regain a kingdom, the name of which he doesn't know, in the company of a girl, who may or may not be a queen, and whose name he also does not know; even Ryzak’s best friend InnKeeper Jollif is certain Ryzak is deranged. Scree slopes, a cave, a crashing fall, an elderly she wolf, A Beginner's Guide to Wizardry, bumbling dwarf named Snorkel and his mentor Beulah, a mule named Clara and Draco a misguided dragonet all contribute to the reader’s enjoyment.
I don’t remember when I have enjoyed a just plain for fun read more. Writer Westcott has a gloriously twisted sense of humor. Reluctant Heroes is filled with potent incitements, breach of faith, delusion, snappy dialogue, an enthusiastically focused yarn, extraordinary picturesque characters, profuse disharmony fittingly determined all excellently maneuvered into an impressive, spell binding read. Westcott has set down a typical problem, quest, resolution, tale using contemporary words and vernacular in a middle ages setting. The mix produces a highly entertaining novel.
Excellent book for a lazy afternoon spent sipping lemonade while reading in the rocking chair out on the porch. Reluctant Heroes will be a good addition to the personal reading shelf, the home pleasure library, and young adult reading list.
Not for everyone, some graphic language will horrify those who find their knickers too tight, everyone else will roar with laughter as they read.
Enjoyed the read, most happy to recommend.