When I read Peter Newman’s debut The Vagrant two years ago, I completely fell in love with the Goat. The other characters were great, the story was wonderful, the writing style fabulous, but the goat was what won my heart. Thus a story featuring Goat and the amazing the Hammer that Walks as well, was an immediate buy.
And though it took me a bit to actually read The Hammer and the Goat, it not only re-affirmed my love for the Goat, but it also made me love the Hammer even more than I already did. In the space of about forty pages Newman not only manages to give us the Hammer’s origin story, we also see how she finds her softer, vulnerable side and how she thinks about what she has become and who she wants to be. Her infernal taint will never be gone, but she doesn’t have to be a monster anymore. Her connection to the young boy, Dally, was touching, especially her consternation when she realises that he isn’t frightened by her, but actually thinks she is somewhat of a hero.
Having taken so long between reading The Vagrant and its sequel The Malice, The Hammer and the Goat was a perfect way to get reacquainted with the world of the series and Newman’s writing style. Whether you’re a fan of the Goat or not, this novelette is a great refresher for those reading the series, and it is also a taster for those who have yet to start it.