Devlin Stonehand, broken and beggared, asks only two things of life: to pay his debt and die. The only way to pay the debt is to take a job no one else wants. The pay is good — life expectancy, not so good. Which suits him just fine. But this tattered stranger at the gates of Kingsholm has a hard time being taken seriously. He is the most unlikely candidate to ever ask to take the oath of the Chosen One. And he is very nearly turned away. Men of position and note had died simply by taking the oath. Others never made it past their first task.
Befriended by a young minstrel, Stephen, who grew up on songs of the Chosen Ones of legend, Devlin sets out to smother any hopes of adding himself to Stephen’s repertoire.
He just wants to fulfill his commission as best he can, or, better yet, die in the attempt.
Devlin soon finds that his new position comes with strings attached, strings that are a part of the tangled web of court politics and power. Knowing who to trust in this strange and unknown world becomes his greatest challenge, and his deadliest task. And as Devlin comes to grips with the dangers that beset the kingdom from within and without, he finds he is fighting on two fronts — raiders, traitors, and mages on one front, and his own personal demons on the other.
The plot in Devlin’s Luck may not be exceptional, but the characters and execution are. I always get a little charge when I find an author who is a real writer. And Patricia Bray knows her craft. She takes a standard fantasy plot line and, whallah, pops you right in the middle of it before you can say “page one”.
If you like fantasy, and are finding too many rotten apples in this genre barrel, take note of Patricia Bray. I think you’ll like her as much as I do.