Today my Friday reads is the brilliant Ace of Skulls. It’s the fourth of the Ketty Jay novels by Chris Wooding, it’s vibrant, it’s fast-paced and it’s wonderful – and if you’ve not been reading the series so far, check out the blog next week, as we have a bit of a Retribution Falls treat for you.
As the cover copy hints, it’s a bit of an adventure story . . . :
All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.
They’ve been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They’ve stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they’ve gone and started a civil war. This time, they’re really in trouble.
As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He’s got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken. But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they’re going to have to pick a side. It’s a choice they’ll be staking their lives on. Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed.
When the smoke clears, who will be left standing?
I can’t recommend these books highly enough. You know those novels that you read every time you have flu, because you love them and cheer you up? That’s this series. You know the books you return to because the characters are such good friends, their adventures are brilliant, and they always make you smile? That’s these novels. You know that book that you always recommend to people, and always nag them to read and then they love them too.
Yes indeed: that’s these books.
Captain Frey is wonderful, vain, funny, smart and selfish. His doctor, Malvery, is a drunkard with steady hands and a heart of gold. His engineer, Silo, is about as taciturn as it’s possible for anyone to be . . . and the folk they gather about them are vibrant and fun too. It’s all the best bits of Han Solo and Indianna Jones, mixed up with Firefly combined with a fabulous adventure story, whether attempting a heist that goes horribly wrong (Retribution Falls) or trekking through a jungle in search of treasure (The Black Lung Captain) or pulling off a train robbery (The Iron Jackal) or now on the hunt for some of the most dangerous creatures in their world. It will make you cackle with laughter, have you on the edge of your seat, and the pages will absolutely fly by. Every Ketty Jay adventure is a treat, and this one is the best of them all.
Read it, read it, read it. You won’t, for a moment, regret it.