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Book Review: The Hawk and His Boy

Hail and well met once more fair travelers!  Today, I bring you a review of fantasy novel The Hawk and His Boy, part one of the Tormay Trilogy by Christopher Bunn, a member of our very own Middle-Earth Network.
Bunn places the reader squarely into events already in progress as we follow a young thief as he scales a wall.  While young Jute climbs, we learn many things such as the nature of his job and the even then nature of the world we are entering.  Jute’s situation reminds one of Oliver Twist, one a number of otherwise homeless orphans who have been taken in by a rather despicable man named the Juggler who dispatches them throughout the city to steal whatever they are able.  Jute however, much like the Artful Dodger is the best and so is chosen to aid the Knife, another member of the Thieves’ Guild in the acquisition of a particular box.  Jute is chosen in no small part for his ability to bypass the various wards – magical security devices – that a thief might encounter.
Things do not go as planned however as Jute finds himself mysteriously drawn to the box and opens it; which is no small feat as we learn later. As we follow Jute through the streets of the city, dodging creatures formed from the Dark, and tiptoeing around the ancient university ruins, the author does an excellent job of introducing us to many other characters such as Nio, the scholar who owns the mysterious box and will stop at nothing to get it back and Severan, a kindly old scholar who takes Jute in to protect him from Nio.  We also learn some of the history of Tormay, of the anbeorun, and the Midsummer War that tore the realm apart in the distant past.
Bunn also takes to other regions of Tormay, introducing us to the mysterious Levoreth, the Fallow clan, who are renowned for the prowess in battle and their knowledge of horses, the valiant Owain Gawinn and the Silentman, leader of the Thieves Guild.  Despite such a large cast of characters, Bunn does an excellent job of creating well-defined and engaging personalities for each, inviting the reader to care about them and their troubles.
It should be said that, as the author himself points out, A Hawk and His Boy is not intended as a stand alone story.  As such, some readers may find it a bit slow as we are only just beginning to grasp the coming crisis by the end of the book, with no resolution in sight.
There are also a few moments in the book when the descriptions of places the geographical and political relationships as well as the dialogue would benefit from a little extra editorial attention.  These however are mere quibbles and do not affect the overall enjoyment of the book.
To wrap up, if you enjoy well crafted characters and savor the slow unravelling of a multi-layered plot, you’ll certainly enjoy The Hawk and His Boy by Christopher Bunn.  You can purchase is work in print or electronic format at Amazon.  And if you like this first book, don’t forget to get the other two parts of the Tormay Trilogy.

About thefairytaletraveler

Catholic father of five and life-long nerd, theviking began nerd life as a socially awkward Star Wars fan who then branched out into comics thanks a boring summer vacation. These days, he reads most anything, watches a number of nerdy shows, plays with his kids, works as a proofreader for the fine folks at Grail Quest Books and volunteers at his parish and kids' school.