The Pleasure of Memory seems an odd name for this fantasy. Beam's memories are more disturbing than pleasant.
Beam, the antihero, is a thief and a smuggler whose various activities include gambling, whoring, and grave robbing. Although he doesn't seem to seek violence, he is always prepared for it.
Even as Beam acknowledges his tendency to criminal behavior, he exhibits a concern for others in several situations; he fights against this tendency, yet usually grudgingly submits to it.
The story opens with Beam feeling pretty good about his situation and his prospects. He has found a gem in one of the crypts he plundered and believes he has managed to escape his pursuers.
What do you think? Yep, the pursuers catch up with him and send him running for his life.
The action is exceptionally well done. Beam's escape from the hostile warriors is as visual as a scene from a movie.
The escape is just the beginning of a long journey that changes Beam in almost every way. Despite his better judgement, he risks his life to save a mage, and finds himself with even more problems than he had before. Facing demons and his own fears become daily challenges for Beam.
A reluctant antihero begins his transformation in this version of the hero's journey, and the journey will continue in the next two installments of this trilogy.
I almost didn't request this NetGalley offer because of the cover, which seems more appropriate for a Nordic Noir murder mystery. Don't judge this book by its cover. Welcome Cole has created a gripping plot, strong characters, and an engaging fantasy world.
Fantasy/Adventure. 2013. Print version: 549 pages.