MARIK'S WAY by Nick Brown
Updated: Jan 20
Most fantasy books these days are of an epic scale: dragons, armies, kings of vast empires and the more than occasional dab of magic rule the pages. Not this one though.
Marik's Way is very much character based; one inconsequential individual's journey through life. Marik is a soldier, a good one, if a touch unremarkable. He roams the North, seeking to escape his old life in the army and the shame its bitter end still causes him. Stay out of trouble; that's all he wants to do. Earn some coin, meet new people, and make his way in the world. Marik is quite rubbish at staying out of trouble.
Relieved of his sword by a gang of theives on the road, Marik finds work as a labourer and for a brief time manages to keep his head down and make a couple of friends. But he catches the eye of a moneylender's daughter, and she catches his, so when he discovers a plot to burgle the moneylender's home there is only one thing Marik can do.
For his heroism he is charged with protecting the daughter on a journey across the sea. Easy, right? Not when you make enemies in the crew, not when the ship is sunk and you're stranded on a small raft in the middle of the ocean with just a small boy who speaks a different tongue to you. Not when your isolation lasts days.
Eventually, an old man will end Marik's torture and pull him to shore: that's when the trouble really starts. Here we really learn who Marik is; get to see the soldier come alive as he plans an assault on a tyrant who rules 'The Delta.'
No more plot giveaways from me - the story is brilliantly told from start to finish. The world building is subtle yet detailed, and forms a great backing for Marik's story. Every character has thier own backstory and contributes to the tale in their own way. More importantly, every character has a purpose, every chapter drives the plot forward.
Highly recommend this, perfect for fans of grimdark fantasy and historical fiction alike.