Book Review: TALUS AND THE FROZEN KING by Graham Edwards

The manic energy of modern day our modern Sherlock Holmes is a difficult thing to transpose to a book. To take such a character and place them in the Stone Age without the aid of modern technology runs the risk of creating a story so at odds with itself that any trunk it’s hidden in should be buried as well. Graham EdwardsTalus and the Frozen King shouldn’t be hidden in some crypt or locked away in some tomb to be forgotten, because it takes the murder mystery back to its roots and that makes it all the more entertaining.

Talus and the Frozen King is set in somewhere in the time period between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, eliminating all of the technology modern police procedurals and mysteries have come to rely upon. The result is a story with strong characters and a well thought-out plot, with Talus the equivalent to Sherlock Holmes and his companion Bran the equivalent of Watson. They don’t fill those roles precisely, but the dynamic is similar which makes it both reassuring and interesting.

Bran, for one, is not the wise, world-weary soldier and medical man that Watson is. Instead he is a fisherman on a quest, blending the fatalistic elements of Ahab into Watson’s concern for others. Talus, for whom Talus and the Frozen King is named after, has the astute observational skills and manic energy we’ve come to expect from both Benjamin Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. but without the know-it-all attitude. Rather, Talus is inquisitive and instructive, his experience is one he’s happy to impart, and unlike the modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes he’s far more personable – it helps that he’s a bard and makes his way about the world telling tales.

The frozen king mentioned in the title is the monarch of a pre-Bronze Age settlement called Creyak, where all of the action takes place. The story works well confined to such a small environment, much in the way Agatha Christie’s works did. Secondary characters are kept to a minimum, with red herrings being rare, all of which keeps the pace going. Since the characters aren’t reliant on technology to work out who the murderer is, they make discoveries along with the reader. The differences of the ancient world of Talus and the Frozen King is never such that the reader is left feeling bewildered or lost; everything is explained and justified without the overuse of exposition.

There are a few glaring errors that an astute reader may find vexing. Yes they are ultimately trivial but they are still significant enough to not go unnoticed, but it is never so bad that it gets out of hand. At the same time Talus and the Frozen King is set in a low fantasy world leaving the reader without a magic system to understand. It’s a world of stone and bone and simple motives that avoids the overly complex conspiracies so common to the mystery genre these days.

Talus and the Frozen King is the ideal book for mysteries lovers who want a classic murder scenario in a new setting. It’s not a rehash or a reimagining of old ideas, but one that makes use of the genre’s tropes to the best of Graham Edwards’ abilities and that makes it a worthy read.


Greg Pellechi ThumbnailReview by: Gregory Pellechi

Gregory Pellechi works in the Middle East because it’s cool and the world should be explored. He wishes he had more free time to read and write – the latter of which he does far too little of for himself. Greg will read just about anything including pamphlets in Spanish about influenza (always as if it’s a script from a Telenovela), but prefers Cyberpunk, Speculative Fiction and Star Wars. You can visit his blog at but be warned he hasn’t posted anything to it in months. He’s more active on Twitter (@SvenNomadsson); just remember the time difference if you’re expecting a prompt reply.

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