This is a revised version of a post that originally appeared in The Broken Bullhorn
Fanuilh by Daniel Hood, Ace Books, April 1994
A successful blending of mystery and fantasy.
Here’s something a little different, this is both a mystery novel and a fantasy novel. The title character Fanuilh is a minature dragon, the familiar of the wizard Tarquin, who is stabbed to death.
Liam Rhenford, a young man just arriving to become apprenticed, discovers the body and the extremely distraught dragon. Together they set out to find the murderer. After initially being a suspect, the two work with a tough old captain of the city guard to solve the crime. Suspects include an actor with a beautiful sister, an herbalist who has a mysterious mistress, a wealthy merchant who believes he has been cheated and a girl who provided the wizard with virgin’s blood for a spell.
Hood does a good job giving the reader all the elements of both fantasy and mystery. This is the first of five novels in the series featuring Liam Rhenford and Fanuilh, and it’s quite good. Hood’s books are quite enjoyable, though the series is a bit uneven with some books stronger than others. That’s typical of series.
I found these to be somewhat reminiscent of Joel Rosenberg’s D’Shai and Hour of the Octopus, also very good mystery-fantasy blends that I highly recommend to anyone who has not read them.
The Rhenford & Fanuilh series:
- Fanuilh – (Ace, April 1994)
- Wizard’s Heir – (Ace, July 1995)
- Beggar’s Banquet – (Ace, April 1997)
- Scales of Justice – (Ace, March, 1998)
- King’s Cure – (Ace, December, 2000)
I don’t remember your original review (obviously) as I can’t remember ever hearing of this before. Not my thing, probably, but it certainly sounds different, and the mystery element makes it more interesting than a straight fantasy would.
Having a migraine day, answers will be very limited today.
I’ve seen these Daniel Hood paperbacks from time to time at various used bookstores and Library Book Sales. I passed on them then, but after reading your review I’ll keep my eyes open for them. I like the mystery and fantasy blend. Hope you feel better soon.
I do like books with both mystery and fantasy and I like that cover a lot. A skull and that lovely dragon. Another book to look for. Hope the migraine goes away soon.
Thanks Tracy, I don’t know how available it is anymore, I got it when it was new.
I checked on ABEbooks and I should be able to find a copy, although it might not be in great condition. There is also a book that collects the first three books, which is titled A Familiar Dragon and also has a lovely dragon on the cover. But collections are often heavy and I would rather go for the single book.
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