2019’s The Servant's Story is the second book in Peter Thomson’s Tales of the Wild series.
Jayas is a ruthless scallywag. Izuli is a functionary determined to settle for more than boring mediocrity. The pair have nothing in common and at first glance seem unlikely to meet. Nevertheless, an encounter between the pair has interesting consequences.
Jayas heads off in search of wealth and adventure. He teams up with mage Seyvyar’s team of murder hoboes. Armed with a treasure map of dubious provenance, the party heads towards the Wild.
Izuli pursues a far more reasonable career path. She has secured a position as Assistant Recorder in distant Irrense. She sets out for Irrense … but is waylaid by bandits and taken prisoner.
It is not entirely coincidental that the bandits have collected a lawyer. They are servants of an aristocratic couple with tax problems. Rather than pay taxes, they demand that their imprisoned lawyer find a loophole.
Meanwhile, Jayas and his allies of the moment are in search of treasure. Jayas is not keen on splitting the take with his companions but he has every hope some of them will not survive the journey. If too many do… well, fatalities can be arranged.
As fate would have it, the path leads Jayas and company towards Izuli.
This book was self-published. It would have benefited from professional editing. The writing is unremarkable. Most of the characters are both stock and forgettable.
The two threads of the plot only meet at the end, which is very convenient for me as it allows me to discuss them separately.
Jayas’ plot focuses on unlikable characters killing their way past a series of D&Desque challenges in quest of treasure. It is possible to write an entertaining adventure using this threadbare trope, but this is no such adventure. The stock collect-the-tokens plot is filled with unlikeable characters about whose fates the reader is given little reason to care.
Izuli’s story is much more interesting. Her captors may be entitled idiots, but their circumstances pose a legal challenge to which Izuli’s skills are well-suited. (The author has crafted byzantine legal systems designed to showcase Izuli’s talents.)
Readers on Amazon seem to have liked this more than I did, so there’s a chance that you may like it too. If you don’t like it … the Kindle edition is cheap and it’s short.
I did not find it at either Barnes & Noble or Chapters-Indigo.