Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best – the meanest, dirtiest, most feared and admired crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. But their glory days are long past; the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three.
Then a former bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help: his daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy horde 100,000 strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of impossible mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for. It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.
Author: Nicholas Eames
Narrator: Jeff Harding
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Run Time: 17 hours 44 mins
Audio Release Date: 23/02/17
My Rating of ‘Kings of the Wyld’: 5 out of 5
Purchase: Audible UK
Kings of the Wyld, quite simply, is one hell of an awesome heavy metal romp through the fantasy genre. The entire book takes many musical terms and puts them in a mercenary/adventuring setting. groups of mercenaries are called ‘bands’ and have names like ‘Saga’ or ‘The Screaming Eagles’. They go on ‘tours’ of the Heartwyld (going out and killing monsters for cash or renown). ‘Bookers’ get them ‘gigs’ (a go to guy who arranges them mercenary contracts). They even have legions of screaming fans when they arrive in the big cities to ‘play the arenas’.
Unlike most books, we come into our heroes’ world when they are way past their prime and their days of heroic battles in the deepest depths of the Heartwyld are behind them. Were it not for a desperate plea from the band’s former ‘frontman’ then I’m sure these aging heroes would just go on living their lives, slowly getting older, fatter and more content with life as every day passes them by.
But that wouldn’t make for a very good story. What we have instead is a group of hilarious and heroic warriors ready to fight against every known beast from myth, legend and fantasy tale you have ever read (if Nicholas Eames forgot to add any fantasy critters in, I’m sure that was just so he had one or two left to make an appearance in later works as he seriously squeezes just about every beast I’ve come across in the genre into Kings of the Wyld). To name a few: Kobolds, Knolls, glow in the dark spiders, tiny elephants, cyclops, giants and, as I said, pretty much everything in-between.
It has everything from magic weapons (both serious and unfortunately hilarious) to glorious one-on-one battles between mighty heroes and terrible foes … and the odd scene with half a dozen men running around with stonking great erections. Something for everybody, really!
The narration was top draw. Jeff Harding’s voices were spot on (even if the homosexual character was stereotypically camp) and his general narration was on equally good form. He made sure the comic bits were just the right level of funny without trying too hard to make it so and the serious bits were laden with just the right amount of emotion.
The pacing was great and the little side-plots along the way with the various different characters the band encountered were all great additions to an already great story. I only hope there are more offerings from Nicholas Eames and his band as one book just isn’t enough.