Author – Michael S Jackson
Pages – 57 (plus an extra 31 pages included with the first 3 chapters of Ringlander: The Path and the Way.)
Publishing Information – Self Published
The One Sentence Review
The Battle That Was Lost is a surprisingly fleshed out novella that reads like a fast paced episode of an exciting TV series
When there is something you can’t or won’t do yourself, you get a bastard to do it for you. They are thieves, cheats and murderers, loyal to nothing but but the coin. Everyone knows that.
Yet in war, payment in blood is more likely than payment in coin.
Staegrim knows coins better than he knows people, and he isn’t giving his life away for free. Not to the rebels, not for the lord’s, and not for all the bloody coins in Rengas.
But then…..Everyone has a price.
The Battle That Was Lost is Michael S Jackson’s 2nd book in the Ringlander series after his debut novel The Path and the Way.
What I like about this novella is that it’s successful in introducing you to the author’s writing, the world and some of its inhabitants even if you haven’t read book 1. It’s also probably even more fun if you have, because it further fleshes things out and gives you extra action to sink your teeth into.
On the first page is a map, and it’s one of the nicest I’ve seen in fantasy books. It’s not overly complicated but it’s got such a pleasant design and it does its job in giving you some bearings and an idea of where the different locations are and people come from.
We are introduced to a number of characters , with Staegrim, Qor, Laeb and Duga being the main ones – Staegrim and Qor being the bastards teased in the blurb.
Your life is worth no more to me than the ten pieces of metal I dropped into your hand.
I enjoyed seeing war from the mercenary perspective. We often don’t see this as protagonists in fantasy novels are usually heroic in some way and even when their morals are grey, I’ve rarely encountered this dynamic looked at, following people fighting purely for coin. We see how there doesn’t always need to be some cause for soldiers to fight on – survival and money can be just as big motivators.
The majority of the book is one big battle against the monstrous Bohr, with Laeb and Duga in commanding positions on the same side as Staegrim and Qor.
Something that works really well is the italics chapters or passages that are interspersed between the main action, which serve to give more background on the characters and like a fast paced episode of a TV show, a cut away from the core action to gain a brief moment of calm and further knowledge. I think this was executed really well by the author.
The main strength of the novella is if you like battles and action, as we see battle tactics and gritty, visceral fighting up close. Although it being a novella means it’s a quick read, this really makes things fly as you get involved in the action.
Jackson’s new book complements his existing work, building the world and its inhabitants further whilst setting you up really nicely for future novels.
Thankyou to Michael S. Jackson for the opportunity to read this arc copy.