Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon
Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon is the author’s first work in the fantasy genre. My editor introduced me to his popular Adrien English m/m mystery books when she requested I review one of his books. I ended up reading the whole series in one night. (Yes, I am the type of person who will do that if I like one book in a series). So my only warning is that his work is strangely addictive (so of course I want to share that addiction). For a complete list of his works: http://www.joshlanyon.com/the_works.html
For an excerpt (Chapter 1): http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/strange-fortune-p-6006.html which has the e-book formats available there. The trade paperback version is also available at his website as well as places like Amazon and even Lanyon’s official site.
“Valentine Strange, late of his Majesty’s 21st Benhali Lancers, needs money. Happily, the wealthy Holy Orders of Harappu are desperate to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the mountainous jungle—an area Strange knows well from his days quelling rebellions. The pay is too good and the job seems too easy for Strange to refuse. But when Master Aleister Grimshaw, a dangerous witch from a traitorous lineage, joins the expedition, Strange begins to suspect that more is at stake than the retrieval of a mere relic.
Grimshaw knows an ancient evil surrounds the diadem— the same evil once hunted him and still haunts his mind. However, experience has taught him to keep his suspicions to himself or risk being denounced as a madman. Again.
Harried by curses, bandits and unnatural creatures, Strange and Grimshaw plunge onward. But when a demonic power wakes and the civilized world descends into revolution, their tenuous friendship is threatened as each man must face the destruction of the life he has known.”
I will admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Lanyon fantasy or speculative fiction. Some authors have a hard time changing genres, but I am happy to report that the novel was addictive. It started out a tad slow and rough for me, but it picked up the pace and grabbed me after three chapters.
In Hidush, which is in its final days as a British colony, a religious group sends Valentine Strange to retrieve a goddess’s lost diadem. However, he is also required to take Aleister Grimshaw (which admittedly neither of these guys are looking forward to working together for various reasons). Grimshaw is not only a very troubled man, but also a witch which leads to some trust issues for the guy. Of course, the mission is not as straight forward as promised by the Holy Order as they are attacked by various with different agendas. The book has plenty of action, adventure, mystery, spells and other fascinating creatures.
The world building is fascinating, and there are some cool action sequences, but it is also the subtle mutual attraction between Grimshaw and Strange that also grabbed my interest. I cheered when the two started becoming more protective of each other. The two characters balance each other well though they definitely had issues to work out through their journey as nothing worthwhile is ever easy. The characters are strong and their personalities are not skimped over for the action. I would say it is a well rounded story that comments on some deeper issues than the most would assume. I love action adventure mysteries that have some romance in it and magic. I would recommend this for fans of fantasy, adventure and m/m romance. Highly recommend! A definite keeper for me. I should also note that there seems to be a hint of a possible sequel at the end of the book. Or maybe that is wishful thinking on my part. I would love to see what happens next with a possible army of…well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? Go read! Enjoy!