Redoubt by Alexander Janaway
After a short and bloody war on foreign soil, the Expeditionary Army of Ashkent is preparing to return home. Captain Jon Forge and his company, however, are assigned one more task – to oversee a workforce of enslaved Bantusai tribesmen as rebuild a remote and long-abandoned bridge. With construction already underway, a band of fleeing trappers brings news of a fast-approaching barbarian horde and the Captain quickly realises that his de facto commander, the devious Duke Burns, has sent him and his men into a deadly trap.
Should the company stay or retreat? Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them, Forge - ever the hard-headed professional soldier - decides to stay. With the help of a motley crew that includes the enigmatic Bantusai, the wily trappers, and a lacklustre wizard-cum-bureaucrat named Portal, the Captain and his men hastily set about rebuilding the dilapidated fort next to the bridge and prepare to make a stand. Their doom, it seems, is inescapable: their redoubt - a patched-up tower house - will surely be their tomb...
Redoubt is a rip-roaring fantasy adventure from former Royal Engineer officer Alexander Janaway. In the style of Steven Erikson and Glen Cook, this tale bursts at the seams with action and camaraderie, all the time using a wonderfully wry sense of humour.
The themes of betrayal and vengeance centre on the character of Captain Jon Forge; a likeable, grizzled veteran whose command are also his family. The memorable Sergeant Mac, contemptible Lieutenant Locke and wonderful Bantusai are amongst a strong supporting cast in a book that cleverly shows that there is a big difference between civilisation and civility.
The Bantusai, who are reminiscent of an African tribe, provide the major fantasy moments in Redoubt and are without doubt the highlight. They have special powers that allow them to work wood to their will and the excerpt below helps illustrate Captain Forge's first impression of these mystical beings:
“Forge looked over and could see where a Bantusai was standing as if he were trying to push the tree down. Now that he was still and quiet he could hear a faint murmuring coming from the black man. He leaned closer and could discern a definite musical lilt to the noise. The man was moving his hands slowly up and down the bark of the trunk as he sang.
The soldier leaned close to Forge. 'Watch this, Sir. It's amazin',' he whispered.”
Redoubt: Chapter 8
Redoubt offers a fascinating insight into the inner machinations of an army company and Janaway is able to draw on his extensive experience (operational tours in Kosovo and the Middle East) to make the characters both believable and realistic. The soldiers are but pawns in a game of chess, played out by others - there is always a sense that something is going on but the author shrewdly keeps the reader in the dark – and the tension builds while the reader begins to really empathise with the characters.
This is a very enjoyable and stimulating read; the pages pass by at a rate of knots and the reader will quickly find himself or herself immersed in the perfectly appropriate no-nonsense narrative. The locations are described well and the detail used allows a good sense of place.
Alexander Janaway's Redoubt is a cracking fantasy adventure featuring a strong plot and well-realised characters and locations. The pieces fit together like dovetail-joints and the plain-speaking narrative fits the story perfectly. Recommended.
Alexander S Janaway is a former officer with the Royal Engineers and during his time in active service took part in operational tours in Kosovo and the Middle East. He has a bachelor's degree in English and American literature as well as a Master's Degree in the Psychology of Work. Today he works as training and project manager in the computer games industry. Redoubt is his first novel and he is currently working on his second.
This Redoubt book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read Redoubt?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Redoubt reader reviews
Gus from Cambridge
Started slowly for me but once I got to Chapter 3, I couldn't put the book down. Really enjoyed it.
Mike from Epping
I loved this book, will definitely be buying any further works from by this exciting new author! A rating of 10 was awarded.
Samuel from UK
Any armchair general will love this. Alex's experience in the military really shows itself with his matter of fact portrayal of the logistics, preparation and tactics of war. It gives this story a real foundation of authenticity that is hard to find in other fantasies. Interesting characters, exciting battles and an intense finale makes this a great read.
Guy from Saffron Walden
Exciting, immersive and a refreshingly realistic take on the fantasy genre. The narrative triggers your imagination with ease and envelopes you in a fantasy world where the action is explosive and detailed in a way that could only be achieved through actual experience. A healthy dose of humour added into the mix maintains the gritty “realness” of war but makes this book a friendly portal to an exciting world and satisfying story.
8.7/10 from 5 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, a...
Guy Gavriel Kay
For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought ...
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking ...
Hats off to Brandenburg
London, 1815 – The Roxy Playhouse is in trouble! The Roxy Playhouse Irregulars, those libertine artists and dreamers, are up to their necks in debt – “Pay...
The Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1929: a city that has lost its way amid corruption and fear, inhabited by people who have abandoned their morals and forsaken spirituality. But when a mysterious st...
Catherynne M Valente
Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, an...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a ...
The Bear and the Nightingale
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes pres...
Nights at the Circus
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordin...
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of thi...
The War at Troy
The people who lived in those days were closer to gods than we are, and great deeds and marvels were commoner then, which is why the stories we have from them are nobler an...
The Golem and the Djinni
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, di...
Land of Hope and Glory
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious...
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departur...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: