t’s a tale as old as time, even in the literary branch of fantasy.
The experienced assassin wants out. Last job. And after he pulls it off (granted, it doesn’t go so well, what with him getting cut and his inner demons (literally!) releasing), he managed to kill the target, all the released monsters, all that. And then he finds out his guild wants him dead.
So, no retirement party, I guess.
Danzen Ravja is now a man (or some sort of superman, maybe) on the run. Two years later, he fetches up in a little collection of villages in a valley on the eastern end of everything, so close to Hell that you can see Sparks (sorry, little Reno, Nevada joke). The woods around are infested with demons. Near penniless, living in a cave on a mountain, Danzen (or, “Pilgrim” as he plays it off) decides to do the right thing a couple of times for the helpless villagers and ends up owning a ruined monastery and the land it crumbles on. At this point, the novel becomes a bit of “My side of the mountain”, with Danzen rebuilding his home and life, getting to know villagers and doing odd jobs for goodwill and bettergold. He intercedes with the magical creatures of the forest (often this means killing them) and generally fits in, a weird piece in a weird hole in village life. But the assassins haven’t forgotten him and, one by one, they find him.
So Pilgrim is a fun fantasy, a bit gunslinger-lore, a bit fantasy and a lot of fun. I did enjoy a lot of this book (the part about the stone lions out front of the monastery made me laugh out loud). It does suffer from a problem with jarring word use – it’s mentioned that he traveled “off the grid”, and “fueled up” at a meal (both of which tossed me right out of the fantasy genre). But overall, a good first book to what looks like an interesting series.
Have a look. You can get it online. The author is Harmon Cooper.