The Rogue Retrieval Author: Dan Koboldt Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse, January 19, 2016 Format: eBook, 384 pages List Price: US$2.99 ISBN: 9780062451903
Sleight of hand…in another land
Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time.
What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.
That's how he finds himself in Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal owned by a powerful corporation. He’s after an employee who has gone rogue, and that’s the least of his problems. Alissia has true magicians…and the penalty for impersonating one is death. In a world where even a twelve-year-old could beat Quinn in a swordfight, it's only a matter of time until the tricks up his sleeves run out.
Scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into this debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval. Fans of Terry Brooks and Terry Pratchett will find this a thrilling read.
Just when Bradley Quinn thought he was going to get his big break as a headline act in Las Vegas he gets a job offer that seems too good to be true. He is contracted by a powerful organisation who have discovered a portal to an alternate world. Alissia is very much like a kingdom from a fantasy novel complete with dragons, swords and magic. Quinn's job is to support his team of professional soldiers and scientists as they retrieve an employee who has gone on the run in Alissia. Quinn's role? Even he isn't sure but his magical tricks could find in him facing a death penalty in a land that punishes those who impersonate the 'real' magicians. This could be Quinn's last job and he may need to pull more than just a rabbit out of his hat to survive.
The story is told from two POVs - Quinn and his travelling companion, the super soldier Logan. This not only gives us a different view the other characters and Alissia but this also provides Koboldt with the ability to stage the plot in two different parts of the kingdom at the same time. The plot is well paced and comes together quite cleverly at the end with an ending that leaves it open for another instalment. I wasn't totally surprised by most of the big 'reveals' but Koboldt did keep my interest all the way through and I think that mostly has to do with his characters, mainly Quinn. He is funny and likeable without coming across like the comedy sidekick. I also thought that Koboldt demonstrated a wonderful imagination with the secret portal to the well constructed fantasy world of Alissia. He gets the balance right between description and exposition of Alissia, the landscape, the people and the magic that resides there. In short, great characters, great plot in a great location. The Rogue Retrieval is a really fun read and Koboldt actually manages to use He-Man to quite a humorous effect. Well done!
Koboldt has written a cracking debut novel with The Rogue Retrieval and there is something for both high fantasy and urban fantasy readers. I am already looking forward to Bradley's next adventure.