If you’re a fantasy fan, you’ll know that the private detective in a fantasy world is kind of cliché, still occasionally someone succeeds in pulling it off. There Shouldn’t Be Elves in Hamemrtown is one of these rare cases.
Sebastian Locke is a human living in the underground dwarven city of Hammertown. He’s a PI, and in the best hard boiled tradition, he tells the story in the first person and with a wry, pungent sarcasm. This is a classic fantasy world mixed with a lot of 1940s hard boiled storytelling and setting. Hammertown is peopled by dwarves and gnomes and the occasional human and as all the dwarven kingdoms is at war with the Elves, though the war is happening far away on the border. But the setting is clearly noir. Sebastian wears a trench and a pistol, while his gnome friend Yon is an inventor and carries all manners of strange gadgets, some of which even sound scientific.
In the classic vain of noir, this is supposed to be a mystery. There is even a murder and a body, but the story soon veers away from the murder mystery to become more clearly a political plot.
I didn’t mind the change of tone, because what really intrigued me wasn’t the story itself, but the setting and above all the characters.
All the characters a fantastic and highly engaging. Getting involved with Sebastian and his and his wry personality is very easy, sympathising with Yon and his skills in nice and natural, but it’s the Chief of police, Captain VanDarn , that stole my heart: a phenomenal character, with a larger than life personality and a past that clearly hides something very important.
Besides, when the story gets into the war between Dwarves and Elves it becomes clear that this short story, thought complete in itself, is only a first glimpse in a far more complex world and story.
I really enjoy it. I plan to read a lot more about these place and characters.
(review of free book)