Book review: The Tally Master by J.M. Ney-Grimm

My friend and former college roommate J.M. Ney-Grimm just released her latest fantasy novel, The Tally Master.  Now that I’ve fully disclosed all biases, I will tell you it’s wonderful.

It’s set in the bronze age Northlands of some of her other novels, and this one is a mystery.  It’s a strange sort of mystery.  Our hero, Gael, is a former mage who now tallies the ingots for the citadel of a troll warlord who fights against the humanity that Gael was once a part of.  Gael keeps a narrow hold on his vision of his life, for it is full of questions that he would rather not face, until the day he realizes that ingots are going missing somewhere between his vaults and the smithies.  Then it all starts to unravel, as this seemingly simple problem leads him deeper into understanding his friends and all their secrets and what he himself must do with this life he’s leading.

We barrel along as all the politics of the troll citadel play out, as Gael remains ignorant of the secret of the person closest to him, and as the highly detailed, fully realized world unfolds before our eyes.  Do you ever read a book where you feel you are inside the world, not just inside people’s heads and hearts?  The Tally Master gives you that.  It also gives you a driving need, Gael’s driving need, to find out what is going on with those ingots, because the answer to that question gives you the answer to a lot more.  I’m being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers, but let me just say this one is worth checking out.

(And remember to leave a review.  If you like a book it helps the author even if you just leave two sentences.)

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