Friday, September 14, 2012

A Storm in Tormay, by Christopher Bunn


A Storm in Tormay is a compilation of a three-book series. The first section, The Hawk and His Boy by indie author Christopher Bunn is book one of The Tormay Series, all three of which are comprised in this book. The tale opens with an orphan boy, Jute, undertaking a ‘chimney’ job for his cruel master, The Juggler. He climbs the wall, using his skills to quiet the wards on the wall. He is worried, because the Knife of the Thieves Guild has insisted he do this job, and only a fool would refuse The Knife anything. Jute wonders why The Knife needs a child for this job, since children were not real thieves, only cut-purses and pickpockets.

He senses the object he seeks in the dark house somehow ‘knows’ him, a thing that intrigues him as he has no idea of his real name or where he really belongs; only that he is an orphan and bound to The Juggler, an unsavory, greedy abusive thief. The box calls to him so clearly he hears it as if someone had spoken his name. The box was the length of his forearm, made of black oak and fastened with a catch and hinges of silver.  A carving of a lifelike hawk, his head staring right at Jute, with the moon and sun rising behind it completed the box.   Despite having been threatened with death if he did so, Jute opens the box. What he finds is an old knife, which seems to be nothing special. He accidentally cuts himself, and sucks the blood away as it wells from his finger. When he closes the box, the carving is no longer lifelike, nothing but a crude carving at best.

Terrified at what he has done, he flees the room. After giving the box to The Knife, the assassin pushes Jute over the edge of the chimney, a failed effort to kill him. Injured, he wakes up with the owners of the house trying to decide what punishments to inflict on his pain-wracked body.

Ronan of Aum, called ‘The Knife’. He holds no malice toward the boy, indeed he feels a bit sorry for him, but he has a job to do. He just wants to earn enough money to escape the city of Hearne and the Thieves Guild.

The Duke of Mizra has asked for the hand of a young noblewoman who is so much more than an ordinary woman, Levoreth.  Besides her obvious secret, she has a mysterious talent for melding her mind with the horses, causing her stablemen to consider her with awe.

Fen, a girl who ‘knows things’ has narrowing escaped the slaughter of her entire family by a creature of evil, becoming horribly injured in the process.  She is rescued by traders, passing through her family’s land.

Nio, the dark wizard who owns the box, pries the information of who had arranged for the theft out of Jute, and then gives him to his horrible creature to kill, but The Voice in Jute’s head helps save his life. Using magic he doesn’t really understand, but believes he does, Nio has created a creature of magic, called a wihitt, which something between a Golem and a demon. He created it from Darkness and the Four Elements to be his servant, and fed it with his own blood. He used it to get information on The Juggler and Ronan, The Knife. The wihitt frightens him somewhat, and he plans to unmake it.

Nio is one of four scholars who seek knowledge of the Gerecednes, a lost book written by a people known to have great knowledge and power over the elements.  One of the other scholars, Severan, knows Nio is up to no good and that he wants Jute. Severan finds Jute and takes him to the ruins of the university to hide him from all who now seek him and want him dead.

The threads of these characters are woven together to form a tapestry which is compelling and absorbing. This is a deep tale, and is frequently heart-rending.  Bunn’s narrative is reminiscent of Tad Williams’s style, making this series an immersive experience to read.  I highly recommend buying the compilation at the outset, because once you have begun reading this series, you won’t be able to stop.
Christopher Bunn can be found blogging on his website, Scribbles and Tunes for the Modern Human.  I must say, I spent a whole morning reading and enjoying his commentary on life and the world in general.

His books are available either through his website or at and also Barnes & Noble; and at many other fine bookstores.



Christopher Bunn said...

Connie, thank you for such a kind and unexpected review! I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and I'm honored by the Tad Williams comparison. I hope my site wasn't too full of meanderings and mumblings (very self-indulgent place for me).

Have a great day...

Connie J Jasperson said...

It's a great website and I enjoyed it for a whole morning's worth of diversions! Tad Williams is one of my go-to authors when I am looking for a dip into another world!