Every now and then, a reader needs to step away from great literature, or horror as metaphor, or fantasy that reflects the end of civilization, and pick up an old-fashioned, sword-and-sorcery adventure. I have been a fan of Canadian writer Sebastian De Castell since discovering his four-book Greatcoats Series. Since then, there has been the Spellslinger Series, which has six books and, now, Way of the Argosi.
De Castell knows how to deliver a page-turning adventure with just the right mixture of humor, wisdom, and suspense. His protagonists go through, perhaps, way more physical and emotional trauma than is reasonable but, then again, they’re heroes. They tell their stories in first person, so you know that they won’t actually die. They also never leave horrible cliffhangers at the end of a book.
Way of the Argosi features a female hero who was a minor character in a Spellslinger book, and she is no more unbelievable than De Castell’s other heroes. She is incredibly resourceful for a teenager who is abandoned (three times), tortured, hated, and constantly on the edge of starvation. Her luck changes, sort of, when she meets a wandering, disreputable-looking dude, who calls himself an Argosi. It looks to be the beginning of many exciting, dangerous, and borderline insane adventures, which doubtlessly will continue in a new series. In fact, Book Two is called Fall of the Argosi, and should be arriving soon.