Book Review – The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

Posted on November 24, 2012

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review first published at www.awritergoesonajourney.com

The Red Knight
Miles Cameron
Orion
2012
Traitor Son 1
9789575113299

BLURB

This is a world dominated by The Wild. Man lives in pockets of civilisation claimed from The Wild. Within men’s walls life is civilised, the peace punctuated by tournaments, politicking, courtly love and canny business. Beyond those walls men are prey – vulnerable to the exceptionally powerful and dangerous creatures which populate the land, and even more vulnerable to those creatures schemes. So when one of those creatures breaks out of The Wild and begins preying on people in their homes, it takes a specialist to hunt it down or drive it out …and even then, it’s a long, difficult and extremely dangerous job. The Black Captain and his men are one such group of specialists. They have no idea what they’re about to face …Forget George and the Dragon. Forget Sir Lancelot and tales of Knightly exploits. This is dirty, bloody work. This is violent, visceral action. This is a mercenary knight as you’ve never seen one before.

REVIEW

This is a nice blending of high fantasy and blood-and-guts fighting and it is no surprise to see that Cameron lists the likes of Tolkien and other similar authors among his influences.

It is an old writing adage to ‘write what you know.’ Miles Cameron is a re-enactor and specialist in ancient weapons and armour. And this comes through loud and clear in his descriptive writing. I am familiar enough with the terms used to be able to readily visualise the people and the scenes. Cameron’s experience with arms etc also comes through strongly in the fight scenes.  But the text would have been complemented by a glossary of it all.

Cameron has used a lot of POV characters. At first I found this a little overwhelming although they did overall come together during the course of the story. Yet I suspect the story may have benefited by perhaps a couple less. It was hard to see just what the POV of characters like Sauce really added to this particular volume. However it can be a mistake on the reviewing front to write them off too early as these additional characters may well have a part to play in the later volumes in the series. We shall just have to see.

I quite liked Cameron’s approach to language. Without falling for the ‘ye olde’ trope, he made things sufficiently different to give an archaic feel that was suited to things eg ‘Ser’ for ‘Sir’, ‘maille cote’ for ‘coat of mail’.

I do not usually make an issue of editing but it does have to be said that the proof and copy editing could have been better. In roughly the first third of the story, these were numerous enough to be a distraction.

The veiled references to England and France were rather obvious – Alba and Galle. If it seems to be appropriate to use different names, I would have preferred to see a bit more effort go into that naming.

Fans of both high fantasy and Joe Abercrombie-style action should both get something out of The Red Knight. As usual, the test for me is whether or not I want to keep reading. And the answer for that is a definite yes.

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Posted in: Review