He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“After he fails to save a stranger from being mauled to death by a bear, a young mercenary is saddled with the baby girl the man died to protect. He leaves her with a kindly shepherd family and goes on with his violent life.
Now, sixteen years later, that young mercenary has grown up to become cynical sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. When his vacation travels bring him back to that same part of the world, he can’t resist trying to discover what has become of the mysterious infant.
He finds that the child, now a lovely young teenager named Isadora, is at the center of complicated web of intrigue involving two feuding kings, a smitten prince, a powerful sorceress, an inhuman monster, and long-buried secrets too shocking to imagine. And once again she needs his help.
They say a spider in your cup will poison you, but only if you see it. Eddie, helped by his smart, resourceful girlfriend Liz, must look through the dregs of the past to find the truth about the present—and risk what might happen if he, too, sees the spider.”
I’ve been reading this series for a few years, and I always look forward to a new book. A lot of that is due to the character of Eddie. He’s the kind of guy that I would call “solid” and who has his head on straight. He doesn’t have dramatic abilities—or dramatic flaws, for that matter—and so he comes across as more of an ordinary guy in circumstances that occasionally veer towards the extraordinary. He’s witty and wry, with a dry sense of humor that I happen to like.
While I mentioned that the things that Eddie gets involved in can sometimes be a bit on the fantastic side, they’re mostly not the type of grand adventures that you’d expect from a fantasy novel. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as I really enjoy reading stories that take place on that smaller scale. I don’t mean that the tales are confined to a small area, but rather that you get more of a sense of how events impact the individuals involved. In this novel, for example, there are monsters and magic, but there’s also time spent with the people around the main action, such as Isadora’s foster family.
One of the things that I found myself enjoying a lot was the interaction between Eddie and his girlfriend Liz. She’s been present in the other novels, but not to this extent. I love how Bledsoe writes these two together, because you can really tell that they love each other and have a relationship based on equality. Some of their banter made me giggle, because I could “hear” the dialogue so clearly.
My only small gripe with the book involves the metaphor that’s used for the title (and is sort-of explained in the synopsis above). It doesn’t get fully explained until about halfway through the novel, and then after that it gets pushed forward a little too much for my taste. Eventually I was thinking “Okay, I get it…”
That’s just a minor irritation, though. I liked everything else about this book. There’s plenty of action, a good amount of mystery, great characters and just the right amount of humor. Bledsoe knows how to tell a good tale, and he knows how to keep up the pace so that the story neither lags nor goes on too long. This series always puts me in mind of a classic action-adventure, and the little twists that the author utilizes to make it unique work really well.
The Eddie Lacrosse series is one of those melding of genres that you don’t believe will work until you see it. And Bledsoe not only makes the fantasy and detective genres harmonize, he makes them stand up together and sing a concert. Every one of these books is delightfully fun to read, and He Drank, and Saw the Spider is no exception.
Series: Eddie Lacrosse
Page Count: 320
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Acquired: Provided by the publisher as an e-ARC through NetGalley
Read an excerpt