And so as winter sets in and the cold (theoretically) descends, I find myself yearning for the muscular embrace of a hefty slab of epic fantasy. Thus I finally get round to finishing Morgan’s A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy, which is clearly an explicit deconstruction of the genre so is all ever-so-slightly clever-clever, but also swords! and dragons! and blood oaths!
The three protagonists—Ringil Eskiath, the jaded war hero; Archeth Indamaninarmal, the half-alien advisor to the imperial throne; and Egar Dragonbane, the hardened Mongolian-analogue warrior—are sent off to the edge of the world in search of a long-lost macguffin, and so as war unfolds back home they find themselves frustratingly (for both themselves and the reader) far from the centre of things. Furthermore, the band gets split up after the first couple of chapters and never really brought back together: one of the tropes seemingly being deconstructed is the glowingly homoerotic reunion of the sundered band. Archeth and Egar’s storyline is particularly odd: in the face of a world ending threat of invasion their desperation to get back home is understandable, the prosecution of a comparatively petty revenge, less so.
Still, it all works out satisfactorily in the end. The resolutions (or lack thereof) all feel earned and justified and the journey to that point is forceful enough to carry you along for a the ride. More to the point, it’s a five-hundred-page book that I managed to read in the space of a week, and that’s a luxury I thought I’d forsworn long ago. Good times ahead.