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  • Writer's picturePortland Jones


by Rick Haynes

I don’t normally read epic fantasy but I was intrigued by the thought of giants.

We meet Sig as a defiant young boy who has suffered beatings at the hands of the cleric who ostensibly ‘cares’ for orphans. His sister died as a result of the sexual abuse and assault she had suffered at the hands of the same man. Sig receives help to make a break for freedom, enjoyable at first but not to continue for long. In the world he lives in, all people, except the strongest, end up serving someone else.

Pressed into the service of a harsh lord, Sig grows from a stripling of a lad into a giant of a man. He grows tall, broad, strong, and deadly. His comrades turn his stature into his nickname, and he becomes known as Giant, head and shoulders above everyone else.

While Sig has learned much from his petulant lord who demands obedience and metes out punishment for any minor infraction, Sig wants to take time out to avenge his sister’s death. Sig and his two companions, his shield swords, make a break for freedom, avenging his sister and acquiring the woman he comes to love.

The world they live in is turbulent with many opposing factions. The powerful are cruel; peace-loving folk are forced to fight for self-preservation.

Giant and his companions are the good guys and fight to stand up for others. They end up in an area they want to make their home, but they discover there is an imminent threat from a vile Lord who starves children to death for stealing food, and the giants who are in league with him.

If Giant wants to stay in the area where he dreams of settling down to raise his soon-to-be daughter, then he must fight to ensure its safety. Yet things are not what they seem. Are the giants really the enemy?

Given that this is a feudal world where fighters are trained and valued above most else, where to be perceived as weak is to die, I feel that the author has captured well the spirit of our young Giant. He is arrogant, quick to anger, quick to fight and quick to kill without necessarily having good reason. He often acts first and thinks later, struggling with remorse. His shield swords do their best to protect him from himself. He is a difficult person to root for, despite knowing his early hardships. A man of his time, his woman is his possession in much the same way as his horse. Yet in his pensive moments he reveals his innermost thoughts, his love for his woman, his dream of not having to fight. You know that if he is on your side, he will fight to the death to protect you.

The giants are portrayed as loveable peaceful characters who are only moved to violence when it is forced on them. There is much humour in the interactions between them and the humans on their side. Giant, when on his way to encounter giants for the first time, feels an urgent need to take a shit that cannot wait. Giants find him squatting with his trews around his ankles. A child giant informs her father delightedly that this not so little human stinks. Giant becomes a favourite with the giants.

There are some themes that run throughout the tale. Basic needs such as food, drink, farting, shitting and sex are addressed at regular intervals. Fighting features throughout the book in graphic detail, as do horrific acts from evil people. What also is apparent throughout is the value of camaraderie, loyalty, love for comrades in arms, and compassion for the weak who cannot fight for themselves. This is a tale in true epic fantasy style, taking us back to an age gone by.

I asked the author to tell me a bit about themself.

Writing was for clever people, not me, but a new writing group started nearby and I joined. So, in 2014 I went back to school. From novels to short stories and Drabbles, I enjoy writing in those formats. I even won an international Drabble contest with Spectral Morning.

I am self-published. I looked for an agent, to go down the traditional route but no luck so I self-published. All my work has been professionally edited and I used a cover designer. Marketing has been difficult. Before Covid, personal appearances brought me most success.

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