‘The Faithful and the Fallen’ by John Gwynne

15750692Valour-NEWGwynne’s debut novel, Malice, is the best fantasy book I have read since Rothfuss’ last novel. The story starts in quite slow pace and I like the fact that the Gwynne gives the reader time to get acquainted with the characters and slowly but surely let us put the pieces together. He does seem to have taken a leaf out of George R.R. Martin when he adopts the technique of having different chapters for different view point characters, but unlikely Martin he is much more constraint in terms of numbers and this really gives the reader a better sense of continuation of the arch-narrative and flow in the story. Most noticeably, although there is a fair share of death, no major viewpoint character has died so far…

The story is so engaging and the characters so likable in their complexity that I went straight on to the second book, Valour. Although we can do find in the book the classic stock Fantasy characters, or archetypes as Edward reminds me to call them (Propp, 1968;  Levi-Strauss, 1978), they are to a great extent quite unique and often confound our genre expectations.

Now we have to wait for book three and meanwhile I quite frequently catch myself thinking , ‘Oh dear… what will Nathair do now? Oh dear…’

  • Gwynne, J. (2012) Malice. London: Tor.
  • Gwynne, J. (2014) Valour. London: Tor.


  • Lévi-Strauss, C., 1978. Myth and Meaning. London: Routledge.
  • Propp, V.I., 1968. Morphology of the Folktale. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.