The Jack Frey Adventures by Mike Morris
It's a bit of a double feature today!
I read these two quite a while ago and as one is a novella, I thought that I would put the both of them together.
So, the first up is Cry Witch, a novella set between Cry Fear and Cry Havoc telling the story of Jack's first mission as a Black Dog
Jack Frey was a street
thief, saved from the gallows and forced to join a mysterious order of
warrior priests. One year before he is ready to join the centuries old
war against the flesh-eating Nostros, Jack is asked to help out on a
very simple mission. However, he soon discovers evil takes many forms.
Cry Witch is a short novella that fits in between the first two books in the Jack Frey series, chronicling Jack’s first mission as a Black Dog.
In Cry Witch, Jack and his comrades, Bryan & Erik join Aidan and the wagon driver, Smythe in a mission to transport and protect a shipment of saltpeter. One of the main ingredients in gunpowder.
Their job is to collect the substance from one of the main suppliers of the stuff and then deliver it to a mill for mixing to make gunpowder.
What can go wrong?
In Cry Witch, Jack deals with the feelings that he has for Aidan and Smythe and has to confront his own past. Whilst he has accepted and thrived as a knight of St Stephen, it seems that he has still not confronted his feelings about the method of how he actually got there.
He still has a deep-seated dislike for Aidan, and thoroughly loathes Smythe
However, what he doesn’t count on is that they don’t really recall him with the same clarity that he remembers them and how he sees his harsh treatment at their hands.
In this short novella, Mike Morris expands the world of Jack Frey and writes a tale that is full of action. It is good to see Jack confronting his past as it allows him to grow as a person. It’s also good that Jack has to actually change his views and accept that things are not always as they seem.
Far from being a little add on to the story of the series as a whole, this novella slots in perfectly between the first two books, showing us how Jack grows as a person and there is some rich character development in the story. Not only that, when you actually get to Cry Fear, the ‘actual’ second book in the series. The beginning of Cry Fear references this book.
The book is written with customary excellent writing that I have come to expect from Mike Morris, and as usual his action scenes and dialogue are superb. I really enjoyed this one. It’s fun and engaging, and like I said, it provides the main character with some character development between the first and the second book
JACK'S BACK AND IN A WORLD OF TROUBLE.
In the riveting sequel to Cry Havoc, Jack Frey and the Black Dogs face their worst nightmare.
For seven hundred years, the Black Dogs have kept the nation of Abios free from the flesh-eating demons known as the Nostros.
A demon stalks the streets of the capital and no one is safe. As the body count mounts, mankind's very survival is at stake.
Can Jack Frey stop it before it's too late? Find out in CRY FEAR if you dare.
Cry Fear is the second in the Jack Frey adventures written by Mike Morris. Obviously if you have read my review of the first book, you are probably aware that I really enjoy these books. And I advise anyone who likes the writing of Mike Morris’s good friend Mike Shackle to try these books out, you won’t regret it.
For me, these books deserve a hell of a lot of exposure because they are brilliant.
As I have already said, Cry Fear is the second book of the series and expands the story somewhat. In this one, the setting stays much closer to home in the city of Arbour, and in particular, Jack’s neighbourhood of Brixteth.
The story takes place about a year after the events of Grosner. Jack is a fully fledged Black Dog and is assigned to Niall’s company. Whereas Lin has remained at Whitehaven, where under the tutelage of Master Snow, shehas become a weapon in her own right and is showing exceptional proficiency as a fighter.
When we meet Jack, he is meting out Justice to two spies of the Nostros, when they are attacked by a mysterious brigade of red cloaked, masked soldiers. From there, Jack goes to see his brother Brendon in Brixteth.
Whilst he is there a young girl is murdered, alerting the black dogs to the fact that there is a Nostros loose in the city.
Lin on the other hand is honing her fighting skills when she is summoned to the palace at Arbour to meet the mysterious Lord Willingham, who she finds out is second to the Queen in a place of power. Obviously, Lin Is her own woman and does not take kindly to the summons of Lord Willingham. However, she is persuaded to go by Master Snow and subsequently escorted there by the messenger, Simon. Another of the Black Dogs.
Meanwhile back in Arbour, the death of the murdered girl is investigated by the Black Dogs and the presence of a Nostros on the island is substantiated. It’s not long before all hell breaks loose in the city of Arbour, and it doesn’t take long for the forces of evil to emerge and cause havoc and panic. However, it soon becomes clear that the Nostros has inserted itself into the city and has been hard at work changing the citizens of Arbour into slaves.
On her way to attend to Lord Wilingham’s summons, Lin is attacked, and it becomes clear that darker forces are at work.
The second book in the story of Jack and Lin is a spectacular story of invading forces and shows the might of the Nostros. Besides this, there is a tale of intrigue and treachery.
There is a lot more happening in this book and Cry Fear ups the pace even more (if that is possible). From the moment the book starts there is action and intrigue. However, it becomes more intense when the story moves to the city of Abios, when it is discovered that a Nostros has been prowling the streets.
You really get a picture of just how dangerous the Nostros are in this book and you can see the effect that they have, even if there is only one.
I do like what Mike Morris has done with this tale. I have been watching and reading vampire fiction since I was young, and have seen a dearth of depictions of this type of creature, yet Mike Morris makes them feel fresh whilst using aspects of vampire mythos effectively. They are not in the truest sense vampires, especially from their physical description, but this is one of the reasons why it gives a new slant on these creatures. Not only that, he incorporates different influences into the story. At one point it is almost reminiscent of some of my favourite films about the bloodsuckers, particularly 30 Days of Night. I am not saying that these had an impact on the writing, but I certainly got those types of vibes when I was reading this.
As usual, the characters are all brilliantly rounded, particularly Lin, who is undergoing a kind of existential crisis now that she has her freedom and she does not know her place in the world. At times, she can be annoying, especially when there is a clash of personalities with the Black Dog who has to escort her to visit Lord Willingham. They regularly clash throughout the book, and when she discovers that she has become a bit of a superstar due to her being the girl who survived the Nostros, she doesn’t understand it.
Throughout these books, the pace of the stories are blisteringly fast, and this one is the same. Once I pick up these books they aren’t put down again until they are read.
These are full on action books, that have plots and subplots galore. One of the subplots that is introduced in this book is the use of magic. In general, the books have a low magic to them and it is not generally evident. That is due to the fact that magic is outlawed in this world and one of the jobs of the Black Dogs is to police and limit the use of magic. However, in Cry Fear, there is an inkling of magic and it will be interesting to see how this has an impact on future books.
At the moment, the series is unfinished. However, Mike Morris has returned to this world and there will hopefully be a new instalment of the series coming soon. On his website, it states that there will be a new one, Cry War coming in spring and also a new Novella, Cry Magic coming at some point later.
In the meantime, I cannot recommend these books enough, especially if you like your fantasy dark, with a streak of horror running through them.