Reviewed by Jan Edwards
2014 Fox Spirit books
Breed is a bit of an animal. Well… half Human and half Thoasan (lizard) to be more precise. Born amongst the lowest of low society Breed is not just a loner, but also a wanted fugitive from just about everyone: including Breed’s own mother. Tricked by a demon into a potentially suicidal mission, and then bound in servitude to a one-handed priest-mage, Davies’s reluctant hero must find ‘the Hammer of the North’ within the prescribed year and a day to earn freedom. Between them the Mage and Breed collect a band of followers, misfits and losers along the way who help and hinder them in their task in equal quantities. As the promo buff rightly asks – ‘‘what could possibly go wrong’’?
Told from a first person perspective by a reluctant participant in all this action I, as a reader, gained a perspective on the politics and power plays of the world the Breed inhabits unencumbered by pre-conceptions — Breed is deliberately and refreshingly genderless and completely free by affiliations to any of the various factions. This allows a reader to view the unfolding of events without any pre-conceived notions of loyalty or duty. Breed owes nothing to anyone or anything.
Breed is a bawdy, bloody and thoroughly enjoyable read. After a slightly frenetic opening chapter that owes as much to LARP and other gaming fiction as standard fantasy, Breed settles into an easy, if headlong, pace; racing you along with little time to breath, yet never confuses or loses the reader. Great fun!