Thursday, July 24, 2008
Sweet Silver Blues, by Glen Cook
Finally, I have conclusive proof that I might actually be a fan of Glen Cook and not just of his Black Company novels. I’ve tried a standalone novel (Sung in Blood), I’ve read the first Dread Empire Omnibus (A Cruel Wind) neither were at all impressive. A Cruel Wind at least had glimpses of the goodness to be later found in The Black Company, but Sung in Blood was rough.
A couple of months ago my wife had an eye exam and I had some time to kill at Barnes and Nobles. I grabbed a copy of Sweet Silver Blues and before I knew it was 40 or so pages in and was completely caught up in the story.
Sweet Silver Blues is the first of twelve Garret P.I. books. Garret is a grizzled former soldier turned investigator, world-weary but intent on doing his job for pay, almost no matter what the job. Here he is contracted to track down the woman his former friend left a fortune to. A fortune that until the will was read, nobody in the family knew existed and nobody in the family was bequeathed. They contracted Garret to journey to the Cantard, a dangerous almost lawless region on the border of military conflict.
The novel is laced with bleak detective humor, violence, action, some fantasy elements (elves, dwarves, trolls, witches, magic, evil unicorns, vampires, etc), but mostly with a solid story to tell with well drawn characters.
I don’t know much about the tradition of detective novels set in a high-fantasy world, but The Garret P.I. novels fit the bill, give the fantasy reader a bit of a different flavor to chew on, and Glen Cook is near the top of his game here. Cook spun a great tale and Sweet Silver Blues stands up next to the Black Company and holds its own. That’s impressive. The novel may be 20 + years old, but it stands the test of time.