by Daniel Hood, Ace Books, April 1994
A successful blending of mystery and fantasy.
Here’s something a little different, this is both a mystery novel and a fantasy novel. The title character Fanuilh is a minature dragon, the familiar of the wizard Tarquin, who is stabbed to death.
Liam Rhenford, a young man just arriving to become apprenticed, discovers the body and the extremely distraught dragon. Together they set out to find the murderer. After initially being a suspect, the two work with a tough old captain of the city guard to solve the crime. Suspects include an actor with a beautiful sister, an herbalist who has a mysterious mistress, a wealthy merchant who believes he has been cheated and a girl who provided the wizard with virgin’s blood for a spell.
This is the first of five novels in the series featuring Liam Rhenford and Fanuilh, and it’s quite good. Hood does a good job giving the reader all the elements of both fantasy and mystery.
Hood’s books are quite enjoyable, though the series is a bit uneven with some books stronger than others. That’s typical of series.
I found these to be somewhat reminiscent of Joel Rosenberg’s D’Shai and Hour of the Octopus, also very good mystery-fantasy blends that I highly recommend to anyone who has not read them.
The Rhenford & Fanuilh series:
- Fanuilh – (Ace, April 1994)
- Wizard’s Heir – (Ace, July 1995)
- Beggar’s Banquet – (Ace, April 1997)
- Scales of Justice – (Ace, March, 1998)
- King’s Cure – (Ace, December, 2000)
These books are readily available. Also published was the hardcover A Familiar Dragon, an omnibus volume of the first three Liam Rhenford & Fanuilh novels, by the Science Fiction Book Club in June 1997.