Knight of Coins by David Humphrey
For reasons that will become clear later this month, we are giving Valguard: Knight of Coins a proper review. Previously we reviewed it along side another book, but we could not let that stand. That said, here is our review of Knight of Coins.
“A woman kidnapped by bandits. A mercenary sent alone to rescue her. Time is running out, the odds are against him and he must play a dangerous game to survive…
High up in the fells, a mercenary called Valguard pits himself against a band of vicious thieves and seemingly impossible odds on a daring night-time raid on a remote, fortified stronghold to rescue a hostage. Meanwhile, his employer, The Duke, waits at the border for news of the mission. Will he outwit the ruthless group of over twenty bandits known as The Cutters? Or has his luck ran out and this time he has sent his friend to a very bloody death?
The first Valguard book and prologue to the forthcoming novel ‘Ten of Swords’.” – From Amazon
Story – Praiseworthy
Mister Humphrey has delivered something impressive here, though short, Knight of Coins gives something unique to readers. It is a dark fantasy, and the best example of dark we have ever seen. Setting the stage, the eponymous hero Valguard seeks to save a kidnapped girl and will stop at nothing to see it done. If we chose one word to describe Knight of Coins, it would be gritty. Mister Humphrey reminds us of what makes a dark fantasy. It is the realness of the story, the unabashed characters with all of their imperfections bringing forth a vivid world. It is a world of conflict and brutality, painted not in black and white but in shades of gray, reminding us of the true nature of human beings, and we love it.
Style and Formatting – Very Good
Mister Humphrey’s words lend credence to his world. He tells you what you need to know and how you need to know it directly and succinctly, giving us something no less ambiguous than life itself. The descriptions of violence are real enough that we can feel it, smell it and taste it. In short, Mister Humphrey knows how to write a novel and he knows how to format one too.
Literary Value – Noteworthy
This is an example of what dark fantasy should be. While Mister Humphrey should not be emulated, his work should be read by everyone who seeks a good example of a dark fantasy. So often today we see dark fantasies that are little more than juvenile, violence laden, expletive ridden romps through underdeveloped worlds. Mister Humphrey saw past that and shows us more than any other speculative genre can what it means to be human. Not only did he make a fantastic world in the few pages he has given us, he populated it with characters who felt real, showing us that fantasies are more than trolls and fairies.
Overall – 4.5, A Must Read
With the only notable issue being the length, we cannot do anything but recommend this novella. We have not read anything quite like Knight of Coins before, and if what Mister Humphrey has given us here is any indication of things to come, we look forward to seeing the next installment.
Want to read Knight of Coins? You can find it on Amazon.