SNAKEWOOD Topping Twenty
released OUT NOW! 414 pages | Hardcover/ ebook
Author Adrian Selby
Publisher Orbit Books
At the height of their fame, Kailen’s Twenty were the most feared mercenaries in the world – the finest tacticians, drudhas ( brewers of poisons and potions) and fighters ever assembled. But 15 years after the Twenty disbanded, someone is hunting them down and killing them one by one…
In his debut fantasy adventure, Adrian Selby shows that his strengths lie in world- building and fast- paced fight scenes. However, when the characters aren’t crossing swords Snakewood becomes bogged down by unwieldy prose and exposition dumps – particularly in the second half. On the former score, witness Kailen’s description of his spouse: “My wife has the habit those born from the very wealthiest families all have, a grace gently forged from the lack of want, a guileless expectation of decency and a curiosity and compassion for those people’s lives the hotter and more intimately joyous and cruel for the want that shapes their suffering and ambition.” Oof.
The perspective shifts between letters/ historical documents and internal monologues, which are not natural bedfellows, but the regular injections of action sustain just enough momentum to carry the reader on.
Adrian Selby was chiefly influenced by two things: 2000 AD strip Sláine and, er, the time he took magic mushrooms.