John Hornor Jacobs
John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is also, in his copious spare time, a novelist, represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, will be published in July, 2012, by Gallery/Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. His young adult series, The Incarcerado Trilogy comprised of The Twelve Fingered Boy, Incarcerado, and The End of All Things, will be published by Carolrhoda Labs, an imprint of Lerner Publishing
The Incorruptibles (2014)
(The first book in the Incorruptibles series)
In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it – from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do. In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together. For Fisk and Shoe – two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other – their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.
“One part ancient Rome, two parts wild west, one part Faust. A pinch of Tolkien, of Lovecraft, of Dante. This is strange alchemy, a recipe I’ve never seen before. I wish more books were as fresh and brave as this.”
“An exceptionally well written book.”
This book was dangled in front of me at just the right time (thank you sophie), something different but with hints of my staple reading genre (historical fiction) i fully expected a decent read, but after the anticipation i had for Red Country, which ended in (for the first time ever with a Joe Abercrombie) disappointment, i was concerned that another fantasy western would equal a book i would struggle to finish.
I’m so happy to say that my concern could not have been further from the reality of the book. The author has taken a western, added an alternate world built on a Rome that has survived to become a global empire, added in demons, magic, and other beings. With these elements he has built an exceptional world, that given the magic (used very lightly) is very believable and easy to become swept into, even into the exceptionally well thought out detail of the guns, the ammunition, the magic, the society, all of this is brought to the fore in the flow or narrative. Allowing the reader to be submerged in the land and absorbed by the characters at the same time. For such a dark tale (at times) its very easy to find many moments of enjoyment in the characters and the situation. The interplay between Shoe, Fisk and the Ruman nobility is at times incredibly funny, especially when dealing with Gnaeus the eldest son.
This for me reminded me of the first time i read a Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie, that sense of WOW, this is fresh and new and exciting. That i need to read more from this author very soon. (it certainly made me go Buy a signed copy )
So all you fans of Fantasy, and historical fiction (who like a cross over), please do read this, its a great new world to live in and explore.