The Vagrant by Peter Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wouldn't say this was an endlessly engaging book about a mute, a baby and a goat, but the quality of the writing was such that I was lost in evocation, the magical spell of the text.
I was slightly worried that this might have turned into a paint-by-numbers fantasy with a clever mute with a baby and a goat twist, but no, it actually became a flowing, even lyrical quest of redemption and slow reveals percolating from the past.
I mean, demon hoards and intelligent singing swords are pretty awesome in any text, so I was pretty much all-in from that standpoint, but I think it became something special by the necessity of keeping the MC silent. From a writing standpoint, I was fascinated. All dialogue was carried by incidentals and sidekicks and the demons, strangely enough, and I was pretty well amazed by how much story was carried by the economical prose and the strong imagery.
When it comes to plot, it's pretty simple, but that doesn't really matter when the writing is this strong. I mean, hello, a knight on a quest of redeeming himself is chased by hoards of demons while occasionally dispatching them with the help of a Great Weapon, picking up hoards of refugees along the way and doing various Good Deeds. Of course, a good paladin stuck changing diapers and rescuing a goat is rather odd, especially when he never says a word, but my lord, it's pretty wild to see a novel pull it off, and do it well! :)
This one is going in a personal organizational pile of Notable Works, giving me a warm feeling of accomplishment not for having read it, because it was an effortless read, but for the fact that it was written at all, and it was very enjoyable. :)
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