I recently reviewed (and loved) The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, the first in a series of detective novels that’s nothing less than Raymond Chandler meets Joe Abercrombie, with a good mix of Jim Butcher thrown in for good measure.
Things That Flit is a perfect introduction to Eddie LaCrosse, medieval gumshoe and protagonist of The Sword-Edged Blonde and the recently released Burn Me Deadly. It also serves as a good example of Bledsoe’s love-it-or-hate-it approach to writing modern prose in a pseudo-medieval world.
I was wearing my black wool cloak, silver cloak clasp, black gambeson, my lightest chain mail under a dark jerkin, gray pants and my shiniest boots. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything a well-dressed sword jockey ought to be. I was calling on the second-richest nobleman in Muscodia.
It wasn’t technically a castle, but Lord Anthony Callendine’s ancestral home was larger and more secure than some fortresses I’d visited. A fifteen-foot stone wall topped with iron spikes surrounded it, and at each of the four corners stood a guard with sword and crossbow. Impenetrable virgin forest closed in on three sides, and only one road led to its gate. I passed through three checkpoints guarded by stiff, surly men in armor before I was ushered into the lavish garden to await the great man himself.
I perused the flowers and statuary until I realized I wasn’t alone. A beautiful girl of around twenty stood slightly hidden by a pomegranate tree and watched me. “Hello,” I said.
She stepped into the open, and a plainer view did nothing to diminish her impact. Her dress was expensive and tailored to her exquisite shape. She had red wavy hair and the kind of sultry manner that could make young men conquer the world to impress her. “Who are you?” she asked in a firm, mature voice.
Alas, I was no longer young, so her charms, while appreciated, moved me only to bow. “Edward LaCrosse. Lord Callendine sent for me.”
She looked me over with considerably less enthusiasm than I’d had for her. “And what do you do?”
“I’m a sword jockey.”
“Less than a chamberlain, more than a mercenary. I help people who don’t want to go through the proper channels.”
You can find Things That Flit HERE.