Simon R. Green writes tight, fast paced, carefully plotted fiction that treats both its readers and characters as three dimensional human beings. The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher as written in Guards of Haven and Swords of Haven are actually a total of six wonderful novella length noirs set in a fantasy universe.
Each story starts with a detailed account of how miserable a city Haven is, especially the Northend, where Captains Hawk and Fisher of the city Guard patrol. Green carefully describes each character, with Hawk a tall, wiry man in his early thirties beginning to ‘build a belly’, and Fisher a tall, handsome woman in her late twenties with a long braid weighted by a ball hanging to her waist. He points out that they are husband and wife. And then he turns them loose on a situation that is never what it appears to be.
The city of Haven is character in the story as much as our erstwhile detectives are, hunkered down on a port with a rigid class system, terrible weather in nearly every season, and poverty, despair and corruption everywhere.
Each and every story is utterly engrossing, fast paced, fun, and filled with magic and intrigue. Some of them are horrifying in the exposure of the dark underbelly of the city of Haven. Just as you despair that Hawk and Fisher have lost their compassion, they find it. Just as you are sure this is finally the end of the duo, they find their way out.
My only disappointment with the Hawk and Fisher stories is that there aren’t more of them. I want to know where they came from, what shaped them into the remorseless but compassionate and loving killing machines they are today? Do they ever have children? Does this force one or both of them to retire from the Guard? Does Reform ever triumph over the Conservatives in the city?
I guess we’ll have to get Simon R. Green to take a break from writing the rest of his wonderful books if we ever want to find out.
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