The Sword of Otrim by Lyndon Perry
I enjoyed The Sword of Otrim very much: it’s a Conan-esque adventure yarn that focuses on Otrim, a powerful fighter with a strong moral purpose and a keen sense of right and wrong. His world is a familiar-enough quasi-medieval version of Europe (in my imagination at least), and Otrim’s adventures are set against a background of wars and conflicts between empires.
It’s the characters that set this apart from any number of such books – this is where Perry is at his best. The people he populates his story with are believable and three-dimensional, flawed and brave and foolish by turns. Otrim displays admirable wisdom and forbearance as he struggles with the enemies placed before him and the roles people assign him, and there always seems to be an amused grin on his face, despite all that happens to him.
It’s fair to say that the majority of the active characters are men, but there are also strong and resourceful females in the book, who play vital roles in the unfolding events. It’s good to see.
The story is somewhat episodic in nature: Perry describes how he created the novel by piecing together five novellas. In truth, it barely shows; the story flows along nicely and reads like a novel. I devoured it very quickly. It’s labelled as “epic fantasy”, but that was actually something I wasn’t so sure about: it’s a fantasy world, for sure, but there is little or no magic in it. That said, there are plenty of hints and suggestions that such wonders do exist in the world, and I look forward to future instalments where, perhaps, Otrim comes up against more fantastical foes.
Some reviewers have labelled this “Christian fiction”. I make no particular comment on that, except to say that I’m not Christian (or any sort of religious) in any way – and that this didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the book at all. I never once felt like I was being beaten over the head with some real-word religious text. There is a lot of talk of “The Master” and his teachings – analogous to the teachings of Jesus, perhaps, to a Christian reader – but to this godless reviewer it all seemed like an enjoyable moral/spiritual dimension to give to an otherwise ruthlessly-efficient swordsman.
Epic battles, swordfights, intrigue and mystery – it’s all here. A recommended read.
Find the book on Amazon.