What happens to legendary adventurers when they retire?
Talen is a poor farmhand…but he used to be a famously quick swordsman. Now he has one last job, which could secure his family’s future: he must retrieve a cursed suit of golden armor from a mountain claimed by genocidal orcs. When Talen fails to return from his adventure, a motley crew of rugged ne’er-do-wells must deal with the mysterious person who hired Talen, as well as a family of berserkers. And retrieving the armor will take a grievous toll…
A Company of Adventurers is the first installment in what I hope will be a series, Tales of Kjeldale, from Rune S. Nielsen. We could define it as a character-driven sword and sorcery novel, and whose purpose is to answer the question: What happens when a legendary adventurer retires?
And let me start the review by saying that it totally fulfills this ambition, and in a way I particularly loved. It is written as a multi-character point of view, dividing clearly the novel in two parts: a first one featuring the first group of adventurer and the introduction and formation of the second group of adventurers; and a second one featuring mostly the quest for a golden armor.
And precisely I think where this book shines more is in this first part, just from the start with the story of Talen, on how he has to enroll in the last mission to get food for his family, after being a legendary swordsman. We will know different characters, first of this first group, but through their stories and how they get into the situation they are. Mention apart my favourite character, and the only one you can call smart, Lutgerd, who took his winnings from years and got a tavern.
While it can be confusing for some readers, I think it’s really effective to use this multi-POV to show us the characters, as it feels more natural to discover their past, and why they are there. Probably my favourite is the one of the thieve, and her debt with Sylas, how that forced her into joining the second group of adventurers.
Action parts are really well written, using some resources that give a distinctive touch to the novel, as such using confusion for the berserker parts. It also helps to alleviate the pace in some parts which can become slow.
Said all of this, if this book doesn’t have a perfect score is because I finished unsatisfied with the ending, as it felt too abrupt for me, but I guess once the second book is released I will probably eliminate this complaint. I would gladly trade 50 pages more in exchange for another kind of ending in this book.
In summary, in my opinion, A Company of Adventurers is a really good character-driven fantasy adventure, and a really recommendable book for anybody that is into roleplaying. I’m dying to read the second part of Tales of Kjeldale.
Rune S. Nielsen
Rune S. Nielsen is a full-time fantasy author. He began writing it in 2018 and his epic debut novel, Doomsayer Prince (the omnibus edition), was first published in the summer of 2020. It was later re-released as two separate books (titled Doomsayer Prince Part One and Part Two.) Together the two books are around 1,200 pages.
His third novel, A Company of Adventurers, was written during the Covid lockdown and published in December 2021.Currently, he is working on a number of projects but dedicated most of his time to writing the sequel to Doomsayer Prince books, titled Arch of the Zhi’el. This will also be a two-parter. His other projects include the Doomsayer roleplaying game and the sequel to A Company of Adventurers titled Harbingers of Twilight.