Breed by K T Davies

September 11, 2014

After being chased by a dragon, tricked by a demon, almost killed by a psychopathic gang boss and hunted by a ferocious arrachid assassin, Breed’s life really takes a turn for the worst.

Sentenced to five years bonded servitude to a one-handed priest magician, Breed must find the weapon of the ancient hero known only as the Hammer of the North within a year and a day.

With only a drug-addicted vagrant, a rat faced child and a timid priest for back up Breed sets out for the mighty city of Valen and the tomb of the hammer.

What could possibly go wrong?

I keep a pretty strict schedule when it comes to reviewing. Ninety nine percent of the time I work with the principle first in, first out. It makes it easy for me to keep track of what I am reviewing and when. There is an exception to every rule, however. For me, it’s when a new book arrives from K T Davies. I can’t help myself. I loved The Red Knight, and when I got my hands on Breed I began to devour it immediately. My colour-coded schedule of book-reviewing loveliness was swiftly forgotten, and I lost myself in this new fantasy from one of my favourite authors.

Breed is half human, half thoasan*1 thief who is not having what could be described as a good day. A very angry dragon, a demon with bad temper, and a plethora of vengeful assassins all want a chat. On top of all that, the psychopathic head of the local crime syndicate also wants a word. The fact that she happens to be Breed’s mother probably won’t help much either. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, the only wafer thin chance of survival is doing what Breed does best – more stealing.

With a quaint sounding name like Appleton you might be fooled into thinking that the town Breed lives in as an idyllic locale. Sadly, you would be entirely wrong. Brothels, dosshouses, and grubby taverns are the order of the day; perfect if you’re a career criminal, mind you. There are lots of dark alleyways for darker deeds, and sewers for escape routes. You get the picture. Later, the action moves to the city of Valen, and there is more of the same just on a slightly grander scale. I got the distinct impression the author was relishing all this depravity. The luscious sights, sounds and even the various smells of Breed’s world all spring from the page vividly. Additional plus points to K T Davies for the truly inventive swearing that Breed is so fond of using. More than once I caught myself tittering at the latest colourful bon mot our playful protagonist had just issued.

Being drawn to the dark side of society means that Breed tends to keep quite low company. It’s hardly a massive surprise that the rest of the cast are an assorted melange of reprobates, maniacs and scumbags. My particular favourite is a scruffy vagrant known simply as Tosspot. Shambolic, uncontrollable and completely unpredictable, I loved the way he drifts in and out of scenes. You get the distinct impression that when he is not present he is off causing chaos somewhere else. Caring about consequences and the outcome of events is far too much trouble for Tosspot, and needs to be left to anyone else but him. That sort of gleefully debauched ne’er-do-well is always such a blast to discover in any book.

It’s always a pleasure when an author you’ve been following for a while*2 produces a new book and it clicks with you immediately. Brash, bawdy and with more chases than you could shake a big northern hammer at, Breed is fantasy caper that’s bucket loads of fun. Davies’ writing continues to evolve and delight in equal measure always retaining that joyous, blissful escapism that drew me to her work in the first place.

Breed is published by Fox Spirit and is available now. Well worth checking out in my opinion. I can only hope that Breed will return again in the future? I have similarly high hopes for the sequel to The Red Knight while we’re at it.

*1 think human sized lizard specifically created to fight demons in an ancient war.

*2 not a creepy stalker sort of a way, I mean following their work. Just so we’re clear.

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