Most readers and writers now are looking for fantasy with something a little different -- fantasy that avoids quite a few of the things that the foundation of the genre is built on.
That's all well and good, but every now and then you just need one of those books with a dashing, roguish hero helping a mysterious magician defeat an absolute evil. That's exactly what Lynn Flewelling delivers in "Luck in the Shadows".
Alec of Kerry is wrongly imprisoned along with our dashing rogue, Seregil, who frees him and begins a grand adventure. Alec, a farmboy, is thrown into worlds he never new existed when he becomes Seregil's partner in crime and society and a Watcher for the wizard Nysander. When Seregil pockets an evil artifact, he enmeshes the pair, along with Nysander and Micum Cavish in someone's sinister plot to awaken an ancient evil. It's up to Nysander and his Watchers to stop that from happening.
I know. Sounds like a pretty basic fantasy plotline, and it is, but it's pulled off masterfully with wonderful language and striking descriptions. Flewelling's eye for detail puts you in the room as Nysander struggles to lift a curse and puts you alongside Alec on his first excursion as a thief.
This book is one that's hard to put down, especially if you're a fan of traditional fantasy.
But it's not only for those who like the more standard approach, either. Just because the novel doesn't "break the mold," doesn't mean there aren't some interesting twists. There are plenty -- but I'm not going to give them away here. You'll just have to read the book.