So, I recently went on a little vacation across the pond to London, England. While there, I knew that one of my missions was to finally get my hands on a copy of ‘The Copper Promise’ by Jen Williams. I’ve been hearing about her for quite some time, though none of her books are available in Canada (yet). The Copper Promise is the first of the Copper Cat Trilogy, and I am so glad I went out of my way to pick up a copy when I had the chance.
(I hear that the first 2 books in the trilogy will be available in Canada and the US this July, but I just couldn’t wait.)
Now, to begin, this is a straight up sword and sorcery tale. It’s full of action, sword fights, monsters, magic, revenge, torture, pirates, demons, and angry gods. The story follows three main characters: Wydrin, also known as the Copper Cat, the disgraced knight Sir Sebastian Carverson, and Lord Aaron Firth of the Blackwood. On their own, the Copper Cat and Sir Sebastian are a great pair of sellswords, taking any job they can get for decent coin, but when Lord Firth hires them to plunder the depths of the Haunted Citadel of Krete…everything changes.
The story is fast-paced, the characters instantly likeable, and the story compelling. It helps that there’s a massive dragon and a cult that worships sharks. Sir Sebastian rocks as the ‘Fafhrd’ to Wydrin’s ‘Gray Mouser’, and the Copper Cat herself, Wydrin of Crosshaven, is a brilliant and refreshing character, a rogue truly worthy of the title. My only complaint would be with the world itself, or rather, the distances between places. The geography of the cities and countries seems very loose. The story takes you where you need to go, but I felt like more time should have passed between most of the locations.
As sword and sorcery goes, this is top notch. If you’re looking for military fantasy or strict rules to your magic (or whatever the hard sci-fi version of fantasy is) then this probably isn’t for you. The Copper Promise is an adventurous tumble, and Williams manages to put a fresh spin on some classic cliches. Keep an eye out for this one, soon to be released in Canada, along with the sequel ‘The Iron Ghost’.