Baldemar - Just Your Average Henchmen in a Fantasy World, Trying to Get the Job Done Right.
My friend and fellow narrator Harry Frost and I were chatting a few months ago he gave me a free code for this gem. Listening through Baldemar, I completely understand why he enjoyed it. Baldemar is a fantasy novel, written very tongue in cheek in the manner of Terry Pratchett. The novel's unique form is more of a memoir of the title character's life, with each chapter acting as a short story (shorter at least – frankly they’re very LONG for chapters). We first meet Baldemar when he is a runt of a boy who has the wisdom to hire a thug so that he can keep his lunch money at school. In this way, Baldemar falls into what will be his chosen profession.
Baldemar is a very laid back kind of character, as are several of his mentors and companions through the years. Partially it’s the writing, but the narration expertly done by Harry Frost is the icing on the cake (or maybe it should be Frosting?) Harry captures lackadaisical perfectly. Baldemar and Vundt in particular are all about understatement. Baldemar is the epitome of average. He has no ambition other than to do the job he’s hired for until its completion. Exceedingly mild spoiler: Baldemar doesn’t even get the girl. The fact that he has no interest in getting the girl is part of what I love about this book. He’s just a guy. He’s seen his boss(es) do stupid things in pursuit of power, glory, etc. It’s just not for him. If he can chill and go fishing a bit at the end of the day, he’s good.
Harry being a native Brit also gets to branch out a bit in one trippy section of the book where Baldemar is in a strange version of the wild west, then riding a Harley in some kind of biker gang. Thoroughly delicious.
The world building is simple, but also unique enough not to be boring. You have wizard tropes, henchmen tropes and some self-aware magical items. I don’t know if there is more in the works for this world by Matthew Hughes, but I’d love to listen to it if so. My only complaint is that I don’t get to narrate it. Intriguing and imaginative, I’d recommend it to anyone in search of a fun stand alone fantasy book. If you can't get a free code, this book is certainly worth the audible credit. Harry's narration nails it & Matthew Hughes writing is splendid.
Harry and I both love narrating Fantasy and Jane Austenesque stories. If you're waiting for one from me, Harry's books are great to check out. I can pretty well guarantee you'll like his as well. You can hear more of his work on Audible or on his website @ http://bellows-audio.co.uk/.
Thanks for the great listen, Harry!