The Grim Company (The Grim Company, #1)

The Grim Company (The Grim Company, #1) - Luke Scull Rating 4.5 *
The Grim Company is set in the age of ruin, where the magelords fought a momentous battle against the Gods and cast their bodies down to the earth. The sites where the Gods fell are now mined for the raw magic they harbour and the magelords harness this power to use as they see fit.
Salazar is one of the most powerful magelords and we get an early indication of his prowess when he unleashes a spell that destroys a city, a spell that takes months to cast and leaves his magic severely depleted. He rules Dorminia with an iron fist, using mindhawks to seek out dissenters and end their rebellious natures.

Davarus Cole is a young member of the rebels resistance movement called the Shards, opposed to the tyrannical rule of the magelord and they are able to torment the cities watch by using drugs to block the mindhawks. Cole has been told all his life that he is the son of a hero, he has heroes blood that enables him to wield an enchanted dagger and all his thoughts centre on the deeds he will and should be accomplishing but his actions never quite go to plan. His attitude can be a little annoying and for this reason he was my least favourite character, his heroes blood line is disputed but he does redeem himself in the end.

The most entertaining characters by far are the two Northmen or highlanders from the High Fangs, Brodar Kayne is the sword of the North adept with his broad sword and no stranger to violence, his companion is Jerek the wolf, an expert tracker and single minded individual who rarely strays from the sullen exterior he portrays. Both have seen better days but the history they share binds them together and makes an interesting component of the story, both men should not be underestimated. On entering Dorminia the Northmen run into Cole almost immediately and soon become embroiled in the plans of the rebels.

The plot is certainly well crafted, compelling and the events that take place in the High Fangs is equally if not more enthralling as both sub plots draw together.
The flow of the story is well paced, interrupted occasionally with story's of the past for the benefit of world building and the exploration of Brodar Kayne's brutal history, this doesn't slow the story but enhances it.

Luke Scull has been compared to Joe Abercrombie, I think mainly because he combines the odd expletive with some sarcastic humour and the fact that he has barbarians from the North or highlanders, with a gritty feel to it but the author should be commended for an excellent debut novel after all these are some of the major traits of modern fantasy and its the stuff I enjoy. Comparisons to Abercrombie should be taken as a huge compliment and I have a feeling the second novel of the series Sword of the North is going to raise the bar even higher.