by Daniel Hood, Ace Books, April 1994

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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.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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4 Responses to Fanuilh

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I read this one about 15 years ago and quite enjoyed it. For some reason, though, I never read the sequels.

  2. George Kelley says:

    I love the cover, Rick! I haven’t read any Daniel Hood, but after your review I’ll be seeking them out.

  3. Richard says:

    Bill – Fifteen years would be about right, Bill. I read it a couple years later, 1997 I think. I read the next 2, then got sidetracked. When I decided to blog this book, I pulled the set out and will read more soon.

  4. Richard says:

    George – I like the cover too, this one is great, and the others are too. Artist, Bob Eggleton, did the covers for all 5 paperbacks. I haven’t seen the SFBC book, but would guess it had a different cover and cover artist.

    There aren’t enough well-done mystery / fantasy combinations published, in my opinion. If you haven’t read the Rosenberg books mentioned in the post, you really should try those too!

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