Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

The Iron Ghost


Author: Jen Williams
Publisher: Headline
RRP: £13.99
ISBN: 978 1 47221 113 2
Publication Date: 26 February 2015

Hot off the heels of their last adventure, the trio of Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith discover that their fortunes, along with their fame, have changed for the better. When they are contracted by the city of Skaldshollow to retrieve a stolen artefact, things could not look easier for a company who has communed with gods and killed dragons. But in a land suffused deep with magic they find that older and more deadly creatures still exist to threaten and terrify...

The Iron Ghost (2015. 536 Pages) is the follow on novel to The Copper Promise, written by fantasy author Jen Williams.

The story follows on fairly directly from the first novel, with Sebastian still trying to keep what is left of the Brood sisters safe. One of the things which did not work for me was just how much out of sequence the sub plot of Sebastian and The Brood sisters was.

Normally flashbacks are used to inform the current flow of the narrative, but these just appeared out of nowhere, meaning people or creatures, which you have just been informed are dead, are suddenly alive. Ultimately, I found that this structure did little more than pull me out of the story. In the end the jumping back and forth in time comes together as the trio and their new found friends take on a powerful and insane mage.

The story is one of high adventure, and Williams has continued to produce realistic characters which you can empathise with. Wydrin, of course, is a no nonsense female sellsword, usually full of bad ideas and a spirit so adventurous as to border on folly. She takes one of the more prominent roles in the story. However Williams is able to share this burden across her three main characters.

Frith remains somewhat melancholic, torn between duty and what he actually desires. Not to give too much of the plot away, I did feel that the scenes with Frith being tempted with forbidden knowledge smacked a little too much of the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Palpatine.

Suffice it to say that the trio’s easy job turns out to be anything but, as they discover that the artefact is a large crystal which the good folk of Skaldshollow use to animate rock creatures, which they use as their beasts of burden. Their neighbours, the Narhl, a race of cold blooded humans, feel somewhat differently about the stone, seeing it as the heart of the mountain which the Skaldshollow’s are desecrating. The enmity between the two is further enflamed by the secretive Prophet, who has her own agenda, which will create peril for the trio and the land.

If anything Williams has improved on her first novel. The story, in parts, is dark and brooding with moments of completely unexpected hilarity. The plot chugs along at a brisk pace and although the size of the novel is large, it never felt like an arduous task to read.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

Kindle edition
iTunes GB
Digital Download