Author: Jennifer Williams
Format: Amazon Kindle (readily available)
The Citadel of Creos: silent, forbidden, haunted. No person in their right mind would attempt to explore it, but then, as Wydrin was fond of saying, adventurers are rarely in their right mind, especially when large amounts of coin are involved.
For the young Lord Frith, the secrets within are his key to a bloody revenge; for Sebastian, exiled from his order for crimes he’d rather not talk about, thank you very much, it is a distraction from his recent disgrace. And Wydrin? For Wydrin it means fortune and fame, or at least the seeds of a good story she can embellish later.
But something ancient and hungry lies restless in the hidden depths of the Citadel, and the long years of its imprisonment are nearly at an end. The three adventurers are about to find out that ghosts are the least of their problems.
I cut my reading teeth on Robert E Howard’s Conan stories, you all know the way it goes, a young adventurer embarks on a mission to steal the fortune from a fabled – and possibly haunted – castle/keep/dead city. Along the way he battles demons, the un-dead and monsters beyond imagination. These type of stories were my bread and butter during the 1970s, my escape from drab TV and wide bottomed trousers made by my Mum.
Since then there there has been – for me – a lack of that style of writing, the Pulp style where the reader is thrown straight into the story without countless chapters of back-story, character and world building. In recent years I have discovered several authors that have re-invented that style for themselves – Joe Abercrombie, Chris Wooding, Scott Lynch – they tell a story and let the reader learn about the worlds they have created as you go along. After reading The Copper Promise I would like to add Jennifer Williams to that list.
The story begins with a brutal torture, a break-in, a grisly death and an introduction to what might be lurking in the bowls of the Citadel of Creos. Jennifer Williams fleshes her characters out with ease, reading about Lord Frith, Wydrin and Sebastion I feel I have known them for sometime – and that this is not the first story I’ve read involving them. They are easy characters to accept, easy to understand and relate to.
The world she has created is the same as her characters, it is very distinct in its feudal make up, numerous city-states, at least one ambitious Empire (masquerading as a People Republic) vying for control. But alongside are the possibly barbarian places of the world, Crosshaven for one sounds like a place I’d like to visit later in a story.
There is little fluff filling this story out, I think it was a good choice by Jennifer to keep this as a novella, the writing is tight, the action sequences well thought out and visualized. This is a return to the Conan stories of my youth, you get a good return for your money.
As a first time self-published author Jennifer Williams has produced a worthwhile successor to the Pulp authors of the 1920s & 30s. She has a bright talent and rosy future, and I for one can’t wait to see what she has in mind for the remaining books in this planed four series tale.
To learn more about Jennifer Williams – and order a copy of The Copper Promise – then visit her website http://sennydreadful.com/