Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Witch of the Sands by Peter Fugazzotto

By Shawn

There's this great little game in the arcade down town.  It has several plastic alligators and their heads pop out of a cave at you.  Your job is to smack the top of the alligator's head so that he retreats back into his cave.  About halfway through the game, if you've smacked enough heads, a gruff alligator voice calls out to you and says 'Now I'm angry!'  And that, my dear readers, is exactly what came out of my mouth at the end of this novella.

We have this wonderful band of warriors who are graying and tiring.  Many of them still lust for battle, but some are ready to dissect the group and settle down with wives and get fat and happy.  The world has changed and they've become nothing more than thugs for hire.  Each man is dealing with the change in the times as well as his own age in his own way.

The characters are fascinating and multi-faceted, which is surprising considering just how little description and detail Fugazzotto (who in my brain has been renamed Fuzzy), has thrown at us.  He has a natural talent for creating characters and forcing us to see deep inside of them without actually telling us who they are and boring us to tears.  From the very opening scene we have unforgettable people who just are.  They're three dimensional and have real meat to them and I adore every single one of them.

The world that's been created here is the same way.  Fugazzotto (Fuzzy!)  throws us into sand and mud and wind torrents and you can't help but love every second of it.  Instead of taking pages and paragraphs to tell us what everything looks like, he gives us the perfectly descriptive word to let us paint the scenes in our own mind.  Incredibly well done and once again, I blame this on talent rather than years of experience.

We start off with the Hounds after they've just destroyed all of the men in a village during a paid job.  They're weary and disheartened and forcing themselves to go on.  This is where we really get to know them intimately.  From this point on, it's pretty much nonstop action.  These are not the type of men that sit around knitting by the fire discussing who Aunt Fanny is trying to set the up with.  These are men of action...doers.  And we get to be right by their side feeling the same intense brotherhood and honor.

So, why am I so angry?  It just stops!  I'm reading along...avidly devouring every single word and not paying any attention to where I'm at page-wise.  Then, all of a sudden, it stops!  This is one of the best action stories I've read in a long time, and created with surprising natural talent with a fluid ease in reading...and it just stops!

If you're into action, I strongly suggest this book.  However, wait until the next one is out!  For me, this is a Green Mile flashback.  Getting a nice little appetizer and then having to wait for the next course and avidly lapping it up the second it's released on my way to the checkout counter.

Fuzzy:  First, don't be offended.  I only give nicknames as a compliment :)  Second, you better be busy writing right now instead of goofing off and playing Cookie Clicker!!!

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