Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp
I received an ARC of Cold Counsel in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Chris Sharp and Tor.
The Troll, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan was born amidst the most intense storm that the world had ever witnessed. The narrative of Cold Counsel is about his bitter revenge following on from the eradication of the Troll race in a brutal genocide manufactured by the Elves. Luckily, newborn Slud, son of the clan's leader was whisked away from destruction by the witch Agnes in secret. The tale unfolds in the Iron Wood where Agnes had been raising and moulding Slud into a tool of vengeance. "For cold is the counsel of women."
I have to admit that even from the beginning, this seemed like an unusual but intriguing concept with a Troll being the hero. Slud's tusk-bearing, axe-wielding, and hulking presence reminded me of the warrior Orcs from Lord of the Rings. It is very much a coming of age tale as Slud looks to reclaim the mountain from the Goblin hordes. I was interested to see if a Troll on his own could carry the weight of a fantasy tale as I couldn't imagine such a character meeting or befriending anyone on his travels. Fortunately, I was incorrect and some of the colourful companions he meets are just as bizarre and unusual at Slud. I enjoyed reading the point of view chapters from the mind of legendary demon wolf, Luthar, and my favourite was the perspective of Neither-Nor, a tattooed rogue twin-blade flaunting Goblin. Sharp works this strange angle of presenting a fantasy story admirably well. Troll's are still brutes, Goblin's are still mischievous and often untrustworthy but these races, normally the villains of fantasy, are given human qualities but without trying to manipulate our already formed views of them too much.
I noticed another reviewer’s status update stating that they didn't like the way Slud's vocals were written. It is in broken, almost slang English and at first, I thought it a was childlike presentation. On reflection and as I got further into the story, I decided I liked what Sharp had done with Slud's and some of the other characters speech. Instead of child-like, I naturally started reading these parts in harsh, guttural Scottish or Jamaican accents depending on the person in question and this was actually really fun in painting the overall picture of the world and its players in my mind. In addition, who expects a Troll to have a posh British accent anyway?
The fabricated fantasy world isn't too grandiose. The majority of what happens takes place in the Iron Wood, at the Goblin's mountain capital and other places traversed on the journeys in-between. Where this book exceeds is in its Troll-lead pummelling high speed and brutal action scenes. I had a lot of fun reading this book. The created world seems a nice mix of typical fantasy and Norse mythology (with mentions of the Gods Odin and Hel etc...) This is a pretty great standalone story that doesn't try to pretend it is trying to create something groundbreaking, grand and epic. At 288 pages it is a quick read and that is a reason that the characters aren't too complex. They all have a primary motive and that is about it but as mentioned, Cold Counsel is all about the blood and guts action and the Goblin's political turbulence. At the finale, it is ambiguously presented that a sequel could follow but perhaps the author is as unsure as I am to know if this is the end of Slud's adventures. Sharp's well-written tale following a Troll's destiny is highly recommended, firstly for the plot and action, secondly to say you have read a book where the Troll was the hero.
This Cold Counsel book review was written by James Tivendale
Have you read Cold Counsel?
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.
Cold Counsel reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
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
The Story of Kullervo
The world first publication of a previously unknown work of fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the powerful story of a doomed young man who is sold into slavery and who...
Death Angel's Shadow
Karl Edward Wagner
Kane is battling the prophet of an ancient cult of evil and confronting the demons of darkness on his journeys. He faces death duels in strange swamps, assassin's attac...
Timion the Black has exhausted his options. Reckless, despicable, Timion’s own band of mercenary men turn against him, leaving him for dead in a back alleyway. Fate d...
The Sword of Truth Series
Richard Cypher holds the fate of three nations in his hands, he must learn the Wizard's First Rule to achieve his goals. The heart hounds are stalking the humans, blood...
Karl Edward Wagner
Kane - indestructible swordsman, invincible sorcerer, immortal wanderer through strange worlds. Efrel, Empress of Pellin, seeks vengeance on the King of Thovnos and chooses...
Lenk and his band of murderous misfits are loathed by society, spurned by all merciful gods, and motivated only by their distrust of each other. Hired to track down a stole...
Steven L Shrewsbury
Deliverance will come... A great flood once wiped clean the earth, destroying everything upon it. Before the deluge, in a time now forgotten, the world was a place of warri...
The Goblin Corps
Morthul, the dreaded Charnel King, has failed. Centuries of plotting from the heart of the Iron Keep - all for naught. Foiled at the last by the bumbling efforts of a laugh...
The Brotherhood of Dwarves series
Roskin, heir to the throne of a remote, peaceful kingdom of dwarves, craves excitement and adventure. Outside his own kingdom, in search of fortune and glory, he finds a mu...
In the first section of Sauron Defeated Christopher Tolkien completes his fascinating study of The Lord of the Rings. Beginning with Sam’s rescue of Frodo from the To...
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun contains 800 narrative verses adapted from Old Norse by Tolkien when he was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University during the 1920s. ...
It is the twilight of mankind. Depleted by generations of war with a dark race, the human kingdoms and their ancient alliance stand on the brink of extinction. The outlands...
The Fallen Herald
Simon P Edwards
Thorn and Alazla are promising students and have little more on their minds than enjoying life, that is, until Thorn witnesses the murder of an Avatar, herald to one of the...
The Hunter's Rede
Lorth of Ostarin is a hunter of men. Lawless, solitary and obscure, he is trained in magic and its inherent order. This uneasy combination of pitilessness and structure has...
The Children Of Hurin
There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before the Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou' an...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engine...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...
Dead Men Naked
After the sudden death of his best friend Neil, involving a 6-foot giant crow and quite some Tequila, Lou’s life takes an unexpected turn towards the impossible. As L...
Age of Assassins
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...