Anyone who has ever woken a sleeping teenager will empathise with the wrath incurred by Lord Frith and his companions, as their careless antics unwittingly disturb a terror that has been imprisoned and dormant for a very long time.
Frith is seeking vengeance and, unable to settle his score alone, he employs the services of disgraced knight Sebastian and his sidekick Wydrin, both of who will do pretty much anything for a pocketful of gold and the opportunity to slice some baddies up. Their bawdy, bloodthirsty road trip leads them through the caverns of a legendary Citadel, where they encounter bizarre creatures, hidden secrets and treachery, not forgetting the aforementioned terror.
However, the Citadel is merely the beginning and, as frustrating and addictive as an episode of Lost, Lord Frith and co deal with one situation only to meet with another seconds later.
The three central characters are realistically flawed, which makes them both human and likeable. Wydrin, with her rash decisions and face-value ethics, is an impish welcome relief from the busty, long haired lovelies that so frequently adorn the pages of epic fantasies. Similarly, Sebastian’s tale is not quite the fall from grace expected and adds a different side to his character. The fact that Jen Williams chooses to allow the knight to share this later than sooner lets the reader focus on his current journey.
Originally released as four separate novellas, The Copper Promise gloriously combines them together as one satisfyingly complete novel. Initially it proves to be a daunting read, with an epic (although not quite Tolkienesque) 535 pages of relentless and exhausting action, but Williams’ fast-paced narrative never leaves room for a pause and captivates from page one.