Miles Cameron is the pen name for the well known historical fiction writer Christian Cameron. What Christian Cameron is well known for is his medieval reenactments and how he brings his experience with weapons, armor, battle formations, and siege engines to his writing. The Red Knight is his first entry into the fantasy genre and I must say that it is a smashing success. The Red Knight takes place in a world similar to Medieval England and France with castles, dukes, knights, Kings and Queens. Surrounding these populated lands are the dark and mysterious wild filled with monsters, strange creatures, magic, and dragons. The wild is looking to reclaim the land it has once owned long ago unless someone is brave enough to stop them. In terms of battles, there are very few others who have done it better than Mile Cameron! Lets dive into the story.
This is a multi-third person POV story with the author alternating several times between characters throughout the chapters. I know this can bother some readers but you get used to it as you read on. As you can tell from the title, the main POV of this story is the Red Knight and his company. The Red Knight is a young 19 year old captain who is much smarter and mature than his age would imply. When the abbess of Lissen Carak hires the Red Knights company to defend the fortress from the onslaught of the wild, the Red Knight believes that it is just another job. Little does he know that he is in the middle of an war that has been brewing for years and the battle of Lissen Carak will be just the tipping point. We also get the follow the company and what makes them all unique. First we have Bad Tom, a brute, hulk of a man who will chop your head off with one swing of his sword, but he has a great sense of humor. Next we follow Sauce, a female knight with a dark past trying to prove herself to the company. Finally we follow Michael, loyal and determined knight with a soft and loving heart who you can’t help but route for. There are several other character story lines you follow but they all come to a head at the battle of Lissen Carak and you may need to bring a change of cloths as shit is about to go down.
There are two types of magic we get to see in this story: one is related to the sun energy and how it can be manipulated and the other is related to the wild and the using of its powers. I won’t get into to many specifics but this was a nice change of pace as opposed to light and dark magics. Characters on both sides can use both types of magic and the effects are felt through different characters. The Red Knight himself is one of these characters and to use his magic, he retreats to the confides of his mind where he has a built a magical building. Present in the center is a stone statue named Prudentia, who unlocks the keys to his power. These scenes were fantastic to read and it showed us a deeper layer to the Red Knights past. Slowly over the course of the book we begin to learn more about the Red Knights past and why he decided to leave his home in the first place.
Unfortunately for the Red Knight, he is not the only magic user at the battle of Lissen Carak. Deep in the wild lies the mysterious and very powerful creature known as Thorn. He is the one who has been gathering the creatures, warriors, and dragons of the wild to his side for the assault to come and he has high goals in mind then Lissen Carak. Thorn is a smart, dark, and very interesting antagonist to read as you will always get the feeling that there is more to him. You will find out all in due time.
My only small grip with The Red Knight is Miles Cameron does devote several chapters in preparation for the battles and siege. The chapters did seem slow at first especially when we didn’t know the characters or the plot from the beginning. Eventually you will find that the buildup was well worth the wait as Miles Cameron is an excellent action writer. I couldn’t put the book down and the story ends with great expectations for book 2. This may be a slow burn, but it will slowly win you over to the Red Knights company. If you are a fan of John Gwynne’s Faithful and the Fallen then the Traitor Son Cycle will be right up your alley. Lets start 2021 off with a bang by revisiting an oldy, but goody in the epic fantasy genre. You will be glad you did.