The Geomancer


Blood of Ambrose: "I could barely put it down."

The King of the Nerds is very enthusiastic about James Enge's debut Blood of Ambrose.He starts skeptical and warms to the book:
It isn’t without it’s problems but they pale in comparison to the amount of pure fun that this novel provided... By the time I got to the [huge spoiler omitted] I could barely put it down.
He observes that:
Enge displays a remarkable talent for banter amongst his characters...
And also, astutely:
Enge also seems to cherry pick from various other genres. Most frequently that genre is horror (or at least "dark fantasy").
And he concludes that:
Blood of Ambrose has a very sword and sorcery feel. It is a type of style and story that is almost completely at odds with a lot of what we’re seeing on the fantasy market today. It is a type of fantasy story that Pyr seems to be carving out a niche for and to that I say 'Thank You! ...[Blood of Ambrose] was truly fantastic... It’s old school and new school, dark without ever being oppressive and yet somehow managed to keep an almost constant smile on my face. It’s one of those novel that leaves you a bit crestfallen that it’s over, not because the ending was disappointing (it wasn’t!) but because you have to stop living in the world it crafted. The second book This Crooked Waylooks like it’ll be out in October and I for one can’t wait to read more.
Meanwhile, Blue Tyson thinks there's a very definite Steven Brust vibe to James Enge, as well as a Fritz Leiber tone. I certainly agree about the Leiber, but I've never read Brust so I can't say. That being said, a friend of mine who gifted me some Brust recently (that I do plan on reading, promise) is wild about Enge, so maybe he's on to something. Blue Tyson also has some very nice things to say:
Blood Of Ambrose, where to begin? It is very rare I get extremely interested in a novel these days significantly ahead of its arrival, at least if the names involved don't start with Egan, Morgan, or Reynolds. However, this was one of those rare volumes.
And he picked up on an element to the character, perhaps not an intentional one, that I recognized (and loved) as well:
...a character comparison that could be made with Morlock is actually that of Doctor Who, not something I'd do often for a literary character. However, plenty of books of the former. Here you do have an extremely long-lived individual, alien, dispassionate and given to thinking his way out of trouble, where possible, helped by a large array of arcane engineering knowledge. His relationship with his sister is also rather reminiscent of the fond bickering between the Doctor and Romana. He's also prone to collecting proteges and companions. The 21st century vintage doctor has been known to get a bit gung-ho with a sword, too. Morlock, however, is not given to huge rantypants oratorically declamatory scenery-chewing. Nor of making goo-goo eyes at girls younger than his underpants, come to that, given his ex-wife. There's no K-9, but Morlock has one of the coolest pets as such that I have ever come across.
He praises, "one of the best starts to a book I have seen in a long time," and concludes:
A novel that is inventive and refreshingly different, especially so if you haven't seen any of the Morlock stories before, and I'll read it again. At least I'd be surprised if you've read a book before about a drunken, ex-hero, divorced son of Merlin, foster-dwarf who is a magical artificer with a dwarven sidekick, strange pets, a backpack, and a hunchback, among other things.
Plus I'd be happy to order the second book in advance.
Thanks, guys. So glad you both liked the book so much!


  1. You definitely need to read Brust, one of the masters. Promote him ahead of Mieville, for sure, particularly if you have been given Taltos of Khaavren/Viscount Of Adrilankha books.

    Be pretty surprised if you didn't like them.

  2. I definitely do need to read him. Heard about him for too long, met him and he's a nice guy.

  3. I definitely agree that Brust is a good read. My intro to him was Phoenix Guard, which is a very peculiar sort of book, but quite enjoyable.

  4. Well, if you call fantasy Dumas pastiche peculiar. :)

  5. The Book of Jhereg is the one waiting on my shelf.