AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://www.jeramygoble.com
SERIES: Moving Targets
PUBLISHED: November 5, 2018 (Self-published)
GENRE: Epic Fantasy, Greco-Roman
When Bayla’s village known for its magic is destroyed by a group of merciless raiders, she strikes out on a rage-fueled journey across sea and desert to avenge her family.
After being captured by a race of scorpion men while trying to carry out a bounty, Briz survives certain death when Bayla discovers him and sets him free.
As they combine efforts to carry out Bayla’s revenge and track Briz’s target, a mysterious reward will test their burgeoning trust. If they can overcome political plots and ancient powers by taking advantage of their complimentary skills of might and magic, they may earn a place amidst the legends of Egypt and beyond.
ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads
After being introduced to Briz and Bayla: The Bronze Age Bounty Hunters through Kickstarter with mention that “an alpha reader has referred to [it] as Assassin’s Creed meets the Boondock Saints”, I knew I couldn’t pass this one up. This is the first book I’ve read by author Jeramy Goble and without knowing what to really expect, I’m excited he has created a solid foundation for Moving Targets, a series I believe has a bright future ahead of it.
The story takes us across the Mediterranean from the diverse islands of Greece onto the sweltering sands of Egypt, as a man seeking to fulfill a bounty and a girl on a quest for vengeance cross paths and embark on a journey that will undeniably change both their lives forever. Agreeing to help each other achieve their own goals, they learn their pasts may not be so different, as they’ve both faced crushing loss that has paved their roads to the present. After encountering an enigmatic people in the desert, they soon find themselves embroiled in a plot of intrigue over the unification of Egypt, facing deception at every turn. When they believe they’ve reached the end of their journey, confronting who they believe is responsible for the murders of Bayla’s family, they’re thrown into a whole new world of magic, gods, and a secret war that has been raging from time immemorial.
The tale is told through two separate first-person points of view, each with a voice so initially distinctive – Briz, the selfish bounty hunter with a mind for only monetary gain and Bayla, the selfless magic-wielding orphan, always seeking to do the right thing. While the two outwardly appear as polar opposites, the balance created in their wake changes them both for the better, making them the ideal pair. Both haunted by pain, they each provide the other the strength needed to endure.
Although the path of vengeance is usually portrayed as being bathed in blood and despair, this story is surprisingly clean and hopeful. While pulling motivation from the darker trends of storytelling, it refuses to descend into the grim and bleak, which I certainly found refreshing. Highly descriptive fight scenes and beautifully painted action dominate a good portion of the book, but the real bloody bits are omitted, allowing the reader to remain focused on the adventure itself. And what an adventure it is! Mysticism is interweaved into an alternate history of our own ancient civilizations, adopting and utilizing documented cultures and religions to create something truly wondrous.
I will admit I found the beginning to be a bit rocky, but Bayla’s first encounter with Briz proved to be a major turning point for me, bringing a whole new depth to the story. The unexpected magical twists and turns not only increase the scope of this fantastical world Goble has created, but also brought about a whole feeling of wonder I so often associate with this time period and area of the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this duo ends up next, because that epilogue definitely had me craving for more.