Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review - The Ways of Khrem by D. Nathan Hilliard

4 of 5 stars
I received a review copy of the book from the author.

THE WAYS OF KHREM is definitely an entertaining read.  The book contains three interconnected novellas featuring Cargill, the Bookseller and a supporting cast of fascinating characters. 

Cargill has left his criminal past behind him, or so he thinks, to become a respected bookseller, until a knock on his door one day turns out to be Captain Wilhem Drayton of the City Watch.  It seems that Captain Drayton knows all about Cargill’s criminal past, but is willing to overlook it for Cargill’s consulting services.  Cargill has no choice, of course, and a tenuous partnership is born.  Along with Drayton comes two City Watchmen, Heinryk, a veteran of the watch and the younger Poole whose most distinct characteristics are his single dark eyebrow and enough muscles for two men.  The author weaves this trio throughout the novellas and I found that with each story, Mr. Hilliard cleverly reveals a little more about each of them and their own secrets.

I have to say though my favorite character is Grabel, Cargill’s manservant.  Grabel’s main duty is to help Cargill “navigate the treacherous terrain of social intercourse” which he does with skill, efficiency and indifferent boredom.  The banter back and forth between these two men had me laughing out loud on several occasions – each of them trying their best to torture the other.  As Cargill says, Grabel “has the remarkable ability to roll his eyes without actually rolling his eyes.”  Even though on the surface their relationship seems argumentative and testy, I got the impression that each of them looked out for the other in their own way. 

I liked “The Ghost of Candlewalk Lane” the most of the 3 stories, but each story is quite enjoyable.  I would definitely recommend that you pick up this book and allow Mr. Hilliard to introduce you to the city of Khrem and all that inhabit it, both above and below ground.