Peter Newman – The Vagrant and the City

This novella is set after the events of The Malice and is best enjoyed after you’ve finished that. It is centred around the Vagrant’s subsequent adventures, and teases a little of what to expect in The Seven too.

I dove right into this novella after finishing The Malice and it was a joy. Because not only do we get a glimpse of how things stand about five years after the ending of The Malice, we also get a new story completely focused on the Vagrant. He remains a unique character and it made me remember how much I enjoyed him in the first book. 

One of the things I truly enjoyed about The Vagrant was the way it portrayed parenthood and the challenges it offers. In The Malice we saw that the Vagrant and Harm had thrown themselves into raising Vesper whole-heartedly, perhaps taking that as their new mission. But with Vesper out on her own and a self-sufficient adult, the Vagrant is at somewhat at a loss. He’s lost his sense of purpose and being in the world. The Vagrant and the City is all about him finding that again. In a sense, this novella is about a parent’s empty nest syndrome and how they rediscovered their focus.

But it is also a fantastic adventure with high stakes, treason, a character you love to hate (I’m looking at you, Sir Heras) and not one, but two awesome sidekicks. I really liked that Newman keeps the Vagrant to his silent ways, even if we know that he can speak. His style of communication with both squires and Sir Heras were not only effective, they also offered some levity during the more tense exchanges. The Vagrant’s — or the Champion as he’s known once out on mission — bond with the two squires, Borz and Nama, was one I enjoyed a lot as he treats them as true pupils, not underlings the way Heras does. It is their reaction to the events of the story as much as Vesper’s request that seems to prompt his decision to truly take up the mantle of Champion.

I really enjoyed The Vagrant and the City. It made for a great bridge between The Malice and The Seven and I can’t wait to discover how the story ends in the latter. Be advised though, The Vagrant and the City definitely contains spoilers for The Malice, so you should hold off reading the former until you’ve read the latter.