The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams book review

Does this sequel to The Copper Promise cut the mustard?

After successfully seeing off a very angry dragon God, defeating warriors made of fog and outwitting a demon-possessed child, the Black Feather Three have become somewhat hot property.

The fearless heroes of Jen Williams’ first novel, The Copper Promise, are in demand, and as always more than happy to butcher a few baddies in return for a bag of cash and an inflated reputation. Indiana Jones would give his fedora hat to be part of their most recent assignment: locate a stolen item, steal it back, collect the reward, move on. This sounds simple, but judging by the 536-page girth of it, you just know that things are going to go belly up.

Wydrin, Sebastian and Lord Frith quickly realise that all is not well in the city of Skaldshollow. By a strange coincidence, it also happens to harbour the watery tomb of the most villainous mage of all: Joah Demonsworn. With a name Charles Dickens would be proud of, Demonsworn was never going to be the good guy, and thousands of years after his death he has found a way to return. Not great news for the Black Feather Three – now they are really going to have to work for their money.

Williams continues to develop these three endearing characters, each with their own individual point to prove and stubborn, headstrong way of doing it. Their bravery is reckless, and they don’t always unite or even communicate well, but somehow they just work. Their relationships are awkward, but this is no love triangle. Indeed, the high level of blood, guts, gore and more gore leaves little room for romance.

The second outing is as entertaining as the first, being absolutely stuffed with ghoulish action. There is never a dull page.