Swords of Haven

Swords of Haven: Hawk & Fisher [2/5]
by Simon R. Green
(Roc Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, July 1999)

This is an omnibus volume containing the first three novels in a series about two city guards in the gritty fantasy city of Haven. A husband and wife team, Hawk and Fisher, work the streets fighting crime. In the first story of this collection, the pair are recruited as bodyguards for a city Councilman, and at a dinner party are called upon to solve a locked-room murder mystery in a locked-down house.

I picked up this and the companion book, Guards of Haven, as potential research books for Ill Met in Amber. The series description gave me the impression that these would have similar flavor to the setting for IMiA. As such, the first story does well enough. On its own merits, though, I doubt this will become one of my favorites. I felt the plot held few surprises — it was no real mystery to me. While the characters floundered, it seemed that everything was clearly telegraphed to the reader. Thus, there was very little sense of suspense throughout. Additionally, the characters – both the protagonists and the supporting cast – came across as somewhat cliched versions of their type, be it city guard, wizard, or whatever. They really just didn’t come alive for me, so their fates didn’t seem overly compelling.

With so many books in my to-be-read pile (my current spreadsheet puts it at well over 500, and the must-be-bought list is growing as well), it seems unlikely I’ll continue to read this series.

2 Responses to “Swords of Haven”

  1. Chris Says:

    Aw, c’mon… I liked the Hawk & Fisher books. I mean, I concede that what you said was basically true, but I enjoyed reading it. It was formulaic, but H&F were just… anachronistic enough to make it interesting. I dunno, difficult to describe, seeing as how I read the books quite some time ago. Before I came to Japan, I think. But I did review them on my site as well.

    Then again, I don’t have over 500 books waiting for me (hell, I don’t have 500 books. Not here at least….) so I can understand you not wanting to spend time on something you’re not happy with….

    500 books. Jealous now….

  2. MikeF Says:

    You might want to take a look at Madeleine E. Robins’ /A Point of Honour/ (no idea why the title uses the British spelling of the word and the interior text is completely US spell, but don’t mind that). I very much enjoyed reading it (at PNH’s suggestion) after WorldCon and I’ve loaned it to one friend who also loved it.