The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

cover image

Gollancz, 2012. ISBN 9780575113299
A young knight and his company of mercenaries are hired by the Abbess to protect the Fortress and Convent of Lissen Carak from the creatures of the Wild. The creatures of the Wild, led by Thorn are determined to rid the land of humans and to rule the kingdom of Alba themselves. The author presents an epic fantasy tale combined with folklore, chivalry, magic and much more all described in great detail that adds so much to the story. In scope it is somewhat reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings and that is no bad thing. There is so much diversity and so many layers in the tale that it is hard to do it justice.
The interplay between the characters and the language is just one of its many outstanding features. As the story is broken into episodes that are marked by location and character you get differing views of what is happening at the same time. The liberal use of profanity although totally in context and the ideas involved suggest an older readership. To say that it is a classic story of good versus evil is too simplistic as there are just so many shades to the characters. Even identifying favourites is difficult, but I especially liked the Red Knight, Bad Tom, the Abbess and the Wyrm.
The battle scenes and use of magic are particularly well done and are nicely counterbalanced by an insight into the motive and backgrounds of those involved.
I loved this book, apart from a number of mistakes with spelling and sentences that should have been corrected, I can't think of anything I didn't like except that it ended. Bring on the next one.
David Rayner