Cry Havoc by Mike Morris
They say when the demons come, you either fight or you die.
The Black Dogs know this all too well. For three hundred years, the warrior priests have sacrificed their lives to keep the island nation of Abios safe from the flesh-eating Nostros, while the rest of the world fell under the demons’ savagery. However, an armada now stands poised to invade mankind’s last bastion.
Child thief Jack Frey is saved from the gallows and joins the mysterious order. Trained with the bullet and the blade, Jack finds himself on the front-line of a centuries-old war.
Across the Angel Sea, Lin is fighting for her life. As a slave of the Nostros, she knows death can strike at any time, either at the hands of her masters or her fellow humans.
Little do they know mankind's fate lies in both their hands.
Fans of Peter V. Brett and Brent Weeks will love CRY HAVOC.
Dive in to a dark and refreshing fantasy epic you won't be able to put down.
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Series: Jack Frey, Book 1 out of 3
Length: 342 Pages
Publishing: 17th July 2017
This is one of those books that I have had on my TBR for ages. I was particularly drawn to this one due to the fact that Mike Morris is a very good ‘friend’ of one of my favourite authors Mike Shackle, and on the basis of this thought that there would be some similarities in writing style.
Cry Havoc is a fast paced, coming of age adventure story that really grabs you by the heels and takes you along on a mad dash through monster infested castles and exceptionally written action pieces.
The story revolves around two main characters, Jack Frey (he that is on the front of the book) and Lin, a young girl who resides in a castle that is owned by the Nostros.
We meet them initially as children and we follow their story from there.
After the loss of their father, Jack and his brother Brendan are virtually bringing themselves up. They do have a mother, but she has problems, and whilst it is not explicitly stated, we can determine that after the loss of their father she has fallen into a pit of despair and has turned to alcohol to function (which she doesn’t do very well!), leaving Jack and Brendon to live on their wits. As you can imagine this isn’t going to turn out that well and they find themselves in a life of crime.
After they are caught trying to steal from one of the wealthier members of the populace, they are subsequently sent to gaol to await sentencing. Whilst there, they are approached by Aiden, a knight of the Order of St Stephen otherwise known as The Black Dogs, who gives the boys and their mother an offer to join The Black Dogs or go through sentencing which will surely result in death. He also offers Jack & Brendon’s mother money in relation to this. She subsequently agrees and the boys are indoctrinated into The Black Dogs as soldiers to fight in the war against the blood drinking Nostros.
On the other side of the ocean, Lin is a slave to the cruel Nostros. A race of vampire like creatures that drink blood, eat human flesh and enslave all the humans that they conquer. The slaves are then sorted into several categories, some being meat (speaks for itself), others being grunts (soldiers in the army), sweats (workers) and those who are to be turned into willing slaves of the Nostros.
After a particularly horrific incident when one of the Nostros masters enters the nursery and eats some of the children in front of her, a kindly matron takes pity on her and makes sure that at the time of sorting she will be assigned as a sweat.
Lin’s existence is fraught with danger, with each hour a constant battle in the brutal world that she lives in, as she not only has to traverse the evil masters that are a constant threat, but also the fact that there are evil men in the work detail that she is assigned to.
Lin is primarily the way we see how the Nostros function, their society and their culture. It also gives us a good sense of how bloody evil they are. These are not you cartoonish monsters, the Nostros have no regard for human life and their only goal is to seek dominance over all mankind.
Cry Havoc is a brilliant book, it has the essence of a coming-of-age fantasy but then moves onto a full-on battle fantasy.
The characters are all well rounded, and it is Lin and Jack (obviously, as they are the main characters) that I identified with the most. Lin’s story is the one that is the most stressful as hers is constantly filled with danger, and I constantly found myself on tenterhooks wondering how she was going to survive the page, never mind the book.
I was quite surprised with Jack on the other hand. When we meet Jack, he is quite the precocious teenager. He doesn’t understand why he has been taken from his home and believes that he has been basically sold to the knights and into servitude. However, it is not until about halfway through the book that he realises he has a home. He is continually full of doubts about his own ability to face the Nostros, making him someone that is easy to understand with and get on board with.
In addition to that, Mike Morris writes some of the best action scenes in fantasy in my opinion. They are always cinematic and extremely visual. He must have been taking a leaf out of Mike Shackle’s books.
It is a very fact paced book that never lags at all. It generally keeps the momentum all the way through the book, and Mile Morris’s writing style is really engaging, and I always had to get to the next chapter to see what happens next.
I didn’t want to put this book down, in fact I didn’t want to put the series down and moved immediately on to the next book in the series, Cry Witch immediately.