Book Review: “His Ragged Company” by Rance D. Denton
Grab your cowboy hat, it’s time for another view. YEE HAW!
About the Book:
A pissed-off warlock with a taste for revenge.
An army of sand-golems with fistfuls of magic.
A wishing well with a mind of its own.
No wonder Blackpeak, Texas never got its spot on the map.
Town marshal Elias Faust thinks that he can make any problem go away if he throws enough lead at it. The living’s easy for a lawman. Bloody, but easy – that is, until Magnate Gregdon arrives with his undead syndicate to tear the town of Blackpeak, Texas apart.
When a shootout with a pair of outlaws goes sideways, Elias Faust accidentally draws the Magnate’s attention. As if dealing with arcane sorcery, reanimated corpses, and the Magnate’s personal vendetta aren’t enough, Faust finds himself at the center of a power-struggle for Blackpeak’s eldritch secrets.
Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot more complicated.
Hunted by a cadre of sandshades and hounded by sinister spellcraft, Elias Faust may be the only bag of skin defiant enough to keep Blackpeak from being destroyed. To outlast the Magnate’s disciples, he’ll need to shoot straighter, run faster, and live longer…even if it means sacrificing a part of himself to do just that.
Book Title: His Ragged Company
Author(s): Rance D. Denton
Series (if applicable): Testimonies of Elias Faust (Book 1)
Number of Pages (if known):
This book has been on my radar for A WHILE, so when I saw that Escapist were running a book tour for it, I knew I had to sign up.
The description in the synopsis promised a weird western and “His Ragged Company” is most definitely a WEIRD western.
The story is told through the eyes of Elias Faust, marshal to the small out-of-the-way town of Blackpeak, Texas. While we do spend the whole time inside Faust’s head, I didn’t get the sense that I really knew him as a character. Even by the end of the book, there are aspects to him that were still a mystery. This is by no means a criticism, as I believe that we never truly know anyone, but aside from his love of a drink, I didn’t have a firm sense of what he liked and what made him tick. But, in a way, that makes sense for the first person narrative. We don’t really talk about ourselves in our internal monologue, so why should Faust?
On the other hand, I have a clear mental picture of several of the supporting characters, with the Magnate, Grady Cicero, Miss Lachrime Garland, and Peggy Winters being my favourites.
This was a weird story… but weird in the best way.
The book starts off relatively normally, and we’re introduced to the characters and the setting. Although there is some weirdness early on, it did not prepare me for what was to come.
I fear that going into the plot in any great detail will give away too much, but I will say this: there is weirdness. At several points, I found myself thinking ‘WTF?’… and I like that in a book. There’s also magic and otherworldly beings… and sand-golems. I feel like I can mention the sand-golems as they’re in the synopsis! They are seriously creepy and tenacious. If I was pissed-off warlock, I’d definitely get myself some sand-golems to do my evil bidding. It just makes sense.
“His Ragged Company” is the first in a series and it does a good job of setting things up for future tales. With that said, Denton has expertly crafted and completed a full story arc here, so I feel like this could be enjoyed as a stand-alone. But, honestly, after reading this, you’re going to want more. I promise!
Did I mention that it’s weird?
I absolutely loved this book, but there were times when the pacing felt a little bit odd. The beginning was slow, but it worked. There was time and space to explore Blackpeak and its inhabitants and I got a real feel for the world Denton was introducing us to.
After that, the story went through stages of rushing ahead and then slowing down. I’ve since read that this is made up of several shorter works that have been woven together, so that could explain the strange pacing.
I’ve said multiple times in this review that the book was weird. And it was. But it was weird in a “OMG this is AWESOME” way, rather than in a “Whaaa?” way.
Denton’s writing is phenomenal and I found myself getting swept away in the prose – at many times to the point where I actually forgot I was reading a book. The movie in my head was so vivid and realistic. Reading “In His Ragged Company” is definitely an experience!
While reading, I picked up a couple of quotes that I wanted to share with you, mainly because I related to them in SO MANY WAYS:
“So Cicero and I sat quietly, drinking gin, because why have words when you can have gin.”
“In the absence of books or logic on the subject, you go with the next best thing besides bullets: the gut. Granted, this was unexplored territory, so Cicero and I did the only thing that seemed logical when faced with the unfamiliar. We drank about it.”
All in all, this is a highly enjoyable read that combines multiple genres, spanning from western to horror to fantasy.
Give it some stars:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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