Retribution Falls

Retribution Falls


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Gabi's Review

Chris Wooding has written a thrill-a-minute, immensely enjoyable, character-driven series called Tales of The Ketty Jay. The title refers to an ungainly vessel with a misfit crew of sky pirates led by the handsome rogue Captain Darian Frey. The first in the series of five is called Retribution Falls.

Lovable rogue Darian Frey, a womaniser and rebel of dubious morals, leads an eccentric and dysfunctional group of misfits and refugees. Frey and his crew thrive in the world of illegal activities, evading the Coalition Navy’s powerful frigates in Vardia. A lucrative opportunity arises when they receive a tip about a heavily guarded freighter filled with valuable cargo. Their plan goes awry when the ship explodes, making Frey a wanted man. The Coalition Navy and hired assassins are after him, but Frey knows the truth: that he was set up and framed for the explosion. To clear his name, he must uncover the real culprit, facing challenges and obstacles along the way. From liars to lovers, aerial battles to shootouts, and encounters with powerful figures and supernatural entities, Frey and his crew must use all their cunning and skills to evade the capture and punishment.

Characters are the heart of this imaginative series, each with an intimate backstory to explain their fall from grace. Jezibeth Kyte died months ago and is being kept alive by the Manes, a legion of daemons who want Jez to join their hive mind but endow her with supernatural ability. Grayther Crake hails from a gentrified family, disgraced and disowned after his experiments with dark magic demonism led to the apparent death of his four-year-old cousin Bess. Bess is the child who survived Crake’s experiment and whose soul is now bound to a giant destructive metal Golem. Silo is a man of few words, the gifted machinist on the Ketty Jay and a former freedom fighter driven out from his clan. Althazar Malvery is a war hero, rarely sober and reduced to working as doctor on the Ketty Jay after drunkenly botching an operation. Jandrew Harkins is one of the ship's two outfliers, a gifted pilot whose wartime experiences have reduced him to a state of hyper-anxiety. Artis Pinn is the other outflier, a naive klutz, convinced he's a "Hero of the Skies" who will one day return in triumph to the (married) girl he left at home. Slag is the ship’s cat, whose two purposes in life are fighting rats and bullying Harkins.

The novel is humorous and brilliantly plotted. The world is creates is not unlike our own, with its social hierarchies, religious zealots, high-end corruption and freeloading lawbreakers with nothing to lose. I can recommend the book to children 15 and over, and to a host of adults who enjoy the occasional fantasy for the escapism it offers.

Publishers Review

Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves.

So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down.

But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons.