Thraxas and The Sorcerers

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There are very few fantasy novels that mix so gleefully influences from the Ancient world, from noir detective stories and from pulp fiction while never failing to deliver straight-to-the-point entertainment. TheThraxas series, originally published by Orbit, written by Martin Scott (penname of Scottish writer Martin Millar), is among them.

UK Cover – Orbit

An (un)Common Detective

Thraxas is a private investigator in the city of Turai. He used to be the head of the Palace Security but his love for alcohol got him fired a few years ago. Living in the poorest area of Turai, above a tavern called “The Avenging Axe”, he will investigate pretty much anything for a fee.

In the fifth book in the series, he is hired by Cicerius, the very ambitious deputy consul of Turai, to protect Lisutaris, Mistress of the Sky, and ensure that she is elected at the helm of the Sorcerers Guild during their Assemblage. Thraxas is not thrilled by such a mission. Not only is it winter and he would prefer to stay indoors but also, having failed his Sorcerer’s apprenticeship when he was a teenager, he’s not keen at all to be surrounded by a bunch of drunk sorcerers who will remind him of his numerous failures.

Money being money, he accepts the case and enrols his friend Makri, a former gladiatrix, half-human, quarter orc and quarter elf, to serve as Lusitaris’s bodyguard. To make matters worse, Lusitaris is a drug addict and Makri is in the middle of a personal crisis – perfect ingredients for laugh-out-loud moments.

Down Memory Lane

Thraxas and the Sorcerers is as entertaining as the other books in the series. It has been a pleasure to return to these characters and this universe that I had enjoyed when I was a teenager.

As a more mature reader, I also took great interest in locating the references to the Ancient World (which are everywhere). Turai has one foot strongly set in Ancient Rome (Traditionals Vs Populares, Cicero, Consuls, etc.) and the other one in the Middle Ages with its guilds, taverns, etc. 

Martin Scott perfectly blends elements of high-brow/classical culture with low-brow/pulp fantasy to deliver a highly entertaining detective story – it’s an ideal pick if you have had a long day at work or if you are in the middle of a summer holiday.

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