Simon De Castell

This is one of those books that I have been looking forward since hearing about this.

Greatcoats is one of my favourite series (and am waiting for the new book) so it was a no brainer that I was going to like this. I mean in all honesty, there were a few nerves when going into this, however, as soon as this book hits its stride (about three sentences in), I was hooked.

'Seven powerful mages want to make the world a better place. We're going to kill them first.'

Picture a wizard. Go ahead, close your eyes. There he is, see? Skinny old guy with a long straggly beard. No doubt he's wearing iridescent silk robes that couldn't protect his frail body from a light breeze. The hat's a must, too, right? Big, floppy thing, covered in esoteric symbols that would instantly show every other mage where this one gets his magic? Wouldn't want a simple steel helmet or something that might, you know, protect the part of him most needed for conjuring magical forces from being bashed in with a mace (or pretty much any household object).

Now open your eyes and let me show you what a real war mage looks like . . . but be warned: you're probably not going to like it, because we're violent, angry, dangerously broken people who sell our skills to the highest bidder and be damned to any moral or ethical considerations.

At least, until such irritating concepts as friendship and the end of the world get in the way.

My name is Cade Ombra, and though I currently make my living as a mercenary wonderist, I used to have a far more noble-sounding job title - until I discovered the people I worked for weren't quite as noble as I'd believed. Now I'm on the run and my only friend, a homicidal thunder mage, has invited me to join him on a suicide mission against the seven deadliest mages on the continent.

Time to recruit some very bad people to help us on this job . . .

Pub Date 11 May 2023 
Pub: Quercus Books, Jo Fletcher Books

Sebastian de Castell goes all Guy Ritchie on us with his new book The Malevolent Seven. 

Cade Umbra is a wonderist for sale, selling his services to the highest bidder. As he says no job too small, no atrocity too atrocious. Along with his workmate in arms Corrigan and the rest of his current crew, they are hired by self proclaimed Ascendent Prince Lucien, favourite of the mighty Celestines (the higher power for good) to aid him in his plight to take over some citadel or other.

After their initial victory, Cade is offered a job that he seemingly can't refuse. However, he does! He's offered a job to go and help some petty lord in the north, go quell a rebellion and fight on the side of injustice and ultimately get the grand prize of some old magical relic or other. Smelling a rat, Cade turns down the job, but somehow manages to get ensnared in the plans and machinations of others that leaves him no choice. 

Right, let's put this out there - this book is fun, in a darkly black comic kind of way. Just to let you know, this book is dark in its way, much like Greatcoats has some pretty dark stuff in it too.

Now, when I heard that Sebastian de Castell was putting a new book out, I knew that I would be applying for an arc straightaway. 

As usual, De Castell mixes good characterisation with high octane action. I know a few people have mentioned that they don't get along with the world building, because to me, De Castell seems to work similarly to Peter McLean in that if you need to know about it, he gives you the info rather than the usual bricks and mortar steady world building that people are generally used to. I liked this chaotic approach and thought it added to the fun of the story.

The plot is fast paced and twists all over the place, which made it such fun to read because you never knew where it was going which gave that unpredictably and thus keeping you engaged.

I knew I was going to enjoy this one and it did not disappoint. 


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