Rebellion of the Black Militia


FLINTLOCK FANTASY:  Johann Plank is a Scribe of the Fifth, an apprentice of the Scribery. Though young and untried in the real world, he is sent on a perilous mission with the God-king’s knight, Sir Lamorak. Johann is fastidious to the point of prissiness and has difficulty coming to terms with the coarseness of life outside his ivory tower.  That life constantly surprises and tests him, though the surprises are not all bad, Lady Tolly being one of the good surprises.  His mission is to go with Lamorak and bind a powerful demon currently residing inside a traitor.  During the course of their journey, Johann discovers he is stronger than he thinks, but he worries that strength may not be enough when the final battle begins.

“Rebellion of the Black Militia” is a fun, quick read that will appeal to readers who love fantasy with clever, detailed world building with a slightly modern slant.  Mr. Nell’s two main characters have a wonderful tension between them that lingers even as Johann grows more confident.  Sir Lamorak is delightfully vulgar, and some of his actions will shock more timid readers, as Mr. Nell does not shy away from describing the horrors of war.  Readers get an intimate, detailed look at the sweat, pain and terror of battle and the courage that faces it.  The minor characters, including Lady Tolly, feel underdeveloped, leaving the reader hoping for a sequel where those characters could have more time on the page.  Several typos should be looked to, but overall, this is a book is an engaging read for any lover of military fantasy.

Marc Joseph