"The Mace of Souls" is Book 2 in Bruce Fergusson's Six Kingdom's series. In this installment you're introduced to Falca Breks, a street thief living in the dock city of Draica. Breks is the leader of a small time gang who prey upon and extort protection money from dockside Timberlimb (think halflings) war refugees. Falca and his gang are constantly searching for the "One Mark" that will make them rich. When they happen upon Amala Darr, a well dressed, beautiful young woman in the docks area they can't help but set up a scheme to rob her. But Breks gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself developing feelings for the same woman they're attempting to extort. This of course complicates things between Falca and his gang. Then, when a former gang member they recently believed dead returns for revenge, Falca and Amala are suddenly caught in the middle. Here are my thoughts on this grim second tale of the Six Kingdoms;
+ Fergusson stays true to the gritty writing style of his previous novel "Shadow of His Wings." The main character Falca Breks is definitely an anti-hero.
+ Grim story with interesting characters.
+ Well written with an interesting ending.
+ Some brief but interesting mentions of things from "Shadow of His Wings" like the Erseiyr and the Kingdom of Myrcia. These mentions really give you a completely different perspective of how other people lived and viewed the rest of the world.
- Author continues to use some fictional/vague vocabulary and assumes you know exactly what he's talking about. A perfect example would be the initial and persistent use of Timberlimb race.
- Last book written in the Six Kingdom's series.
- Once again, no map.
- Cover looks too SciFi-ish at first glance.
Fergusson clearly has a talent for writing grim-realism fantasy and this novel is no exception. His writing style seems to have improved a bit from his previous story. I enjoyed this book slightly more than Shadow of His Wings and the main character of Falca Breks feels a bit more fleshed out than Fergusson's previous hero, Lukan Barra. That being said, it's real shame the author didn't write any more stories in the Six Kingdoms. When I finished this book I really wanted to keep reading about the people, places and things in the world. While there is no direct connection between either of the Six Kingdoms books you really start to get a good sense of the world. Things were just starting to come together nicely. Oh well, it was good while it lasted!