DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PUBLICATION: Rebellion / Solaris, June 14th, 2016
This is a collection of short stories that are tied together in a chronological order that feature Jonmarc Vahanian, the protagonist for Martin's other body of work, The Chronicles of the Necromancer. Marketed as the "untold stores of Jonmarc", this book features several stories that provide the reader a glimpse into Vahanian's life.
Initially attacked and left for dead by a group of raiders, he tries to rebuild his life having lost his village and family by joining a traveling caravan that sells goods and wares to each town it passes. But it seems that each road they travel is filled with danger and adventure, much to the reader's delight.
Having never read The Chronicles of the Necromancer, I was unfamiliar with the character of Vahanian but that certainly didn't detract from me enjoying this book. Crammed full of non-stop action, great characters, and fast-paced writing, this struck me as an old-fashioned fantasy adventure written along the same style as the older Dragonlance novels and even Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns series.
It also reminded me a little of the games Fable and Dungeons and Dragons, where the main character would travel around and complete quests, defeat evil creatures, and find magical items In this novel, Vahanian's quests consisted of defeating raiders, recovering a talisman from caves, and fighting creatures, mages, and all sorts of fantastical beasts. Never a dull moment, the reader is instantly drawn in to Vahanian's life from page one as Martin depicts a bloody and gory battle with the raiders that immediately captures, and keeps, the reader's attention.
I really enjoyed reading this novel and I feel that most people will agree. If you've read The Chronicles of the Necromancer, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. If you haven't, don't let that stop you from picking this up. Each story was fun, exciting, and full of great moments. I really want to move forward with this character and read Martin's other novels.
Overall, a great book that I think many people will enjoy. It has everything one would hope it would: action, magic, deception, betrayal, poisoning, and more. These are all quintessential elements to crafting a fine fantasy novel and that's exactly what Martin has done.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.