Book Review: He Drank and Saw the Spider

he-drank-and-saw-the-spider-coverA disclaimer here: this is the first Eddie LaCrosse novel I’ve read.  As such I have to say it’s absolutely wet my appetite for all the Eddie La Crosse stories because Eddie is a thoroughly engaging protagonist, and his world is an interesting one, to say the least.

The Setup: Eddie has decided to bag on the life of a mercenary.  He’s fast making tracks away from his former “boss” (the boss in question takes a dim view of deserters) when he sees a man being chased by a bear.  Eddie kills the bear, but it’s too late for the man.  His wounds are fatal because, rather than trying to defend himself from the bear, he was busy protecting an infant.  He delivers the baby girl (and a bag of gold) into Eddie’s safekeeping and dies.  Shortly afterwards Eddie places the infant into the care of a young woman who really wants to raise this child as her own.  Eddie meets her family of shepherds, knows they’re good people and hands the baby to them and the bag of gold to the family patriarch aka dad.

The Plot: Fast forward sixteen years later.  Eddie is now a sword jockey which seems to be some kind of medieval P.I.  He’s traveling with his girlfriend, Liz, to make a delivery of some dishes to Crazy Jerry, the king.  After a minor bit of eventfulness, they’re on their way, dishes delivered and payment in hand.  Since they end up close to where Eddie left the baby girl, (known now as Isidora) Eddie wants to check how things have gone for her.  And that’s when things start getting really interesting.  Of course there’s a mystery surrounding Isidora.  And of course the local prince is in love with her.  Naturally, his father isn’t happy about it.  And what fantasy story would be complete without a powerful sorceress (who may or may not be evil), a hulking monster who kidnaps the girl, and a cast of assorted, sometimes questionable characters along with a king called Crazy Eddie, who happens to be the former bff of the local prince-in-love’s kingly father.

My Review Opinion: He Drank and Saw the Spider isn’t all that original in plot (what is?), but the characters, adventures and strong writing more than make up for that.  In all honesty, the joy in this book is all about how it’s written and how the characters are drawn.  While there are good characters and bad characters, no one is one dimensional.  There’s some good in the bad and some bad in the good, they are often not predictable, and there’s more than a little poignancy with a number of them.  Also, Bledsoe isn’t afraid to mix things up.  His recognizably medieval setting has a lot of surprisingly modern stuff tossed in.  The speech is all modern, the females are liberated — without the men being threatened by it.  How refreshing is that?  And did you know that apparently they had casinos during medieval times?  When I read that, I lolled (I lolled a lot while reading this book).

Most of this book is very strong, and only flattens out some when the central mystery is revealed.  Still, while that reveal felt a bit contrived, the story as a whole was enough to keep me reading and left me wanting more Eddie LaCrosse.  I will definitely be reading more Alex Bledsoe and you can’t give a book much more of a recommendation than that.

I give this book four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed by Geralyn for Roqoo Depot

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