Book Review: A Man of His Word Series by Dave Duncan

Book Review: A Man of His Word by Dave Duncan

After quite a few unusual fantasy books, I found it enjoyable to return to some classic ideas. A Man of His Word by Dave Duncan is literally a “humble stable boy finds his destiny” themed series. Though the first two books were kind of slow with not much character progression. Most of the action happens in the last couple.

What really stands out about this set of books is the magic system which is one of the most unusual and imaginative I’ve ever come across. It’s based on magic “words” that confer power to those who hear them. They weaken as they’re shared. One word makes a genius, two an adept, three a mage, and four a sorcerer. The hero, Rap is passed along a single word by his mother on her deathbed and has an unusual destiny facing him.

Though Rap’s journey is the central theme, the story is equally split between him and his childhood friend and love interest Inos who also happens to be his queen. She’s quite funny actually especially in the first book. Duncan does an excellent job of showing us the inside of a young girl’s head. She has a destiny too – one that is hinted at when a god visits her unexpectedly right at the start.

I’m an impatient sort of fellow and I’m generally not one for a great deal of world building or scenery depictions. I just like the bare minimum detail to be provided and I leave the rest to my imagination. So I found myself skipping over some of the boring details especially in the fourth book when new characters like the young prince of Hub are introduced for no reason and who don’t really have much of a role to play in the overall story arc. Still, I read enough to get a gist of what’s happening.

But when the action picks up, it’s no holds barred! I particularly loved the elven warlock Lith’rian even though we don’t get to see much of him. Altogether we don’t see much of the main warlocks in general and this adds to their mystery. The most thrilling scene takes place with all four of them surrounding Rap as they decide how to deal with this strange new and powerful sorcerer. I couldn’t put it down!

It seems that Duncan has explored some of these characters further in his novels and I plan to read the rest of them as well. They’re just so interesting!

What do you think of this post?
  • Agree (4)
  • You're an asshole (2)
  • Don't Agree but Interesting (0)