Jari Rockjaw just wants a quiet life and a homestead to call his own. He has been a bounty hunter in Labrys for over 100 years. And it’s getting old. Battle after battle, allies lost and gained, he now wants to smoke his pipe in the solitude far from the human cities he despises. An option to do so comes his way when the king of Ekepia asks for a favor. Jari is tasked with destroying the evilest dwarf ever to walk the world!
With Jari’s best mates at his side, they team up for one last mission…a mission that will be nearly impossible to pull off. But just like everyone else, if the juice is worth the squeeze, you take the risk. The only question he must ask himself is…. Is retirement worth dying for?
I was given an audiobook by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you D.B Bray. The narration is done by Walt Allen and is really exceptional. His voices brought each of the characters to life and were very well defined. He had me laughing out loud, especially with the gruff voice of the female minotaur, Betha and Toli Hookhand’s cackling laughter! Lord Polis, the human, seems to be somewhat Scandinavian in accent and Zog the orc sounds Russian. Walt Allen is a real master of voices and accents!
Loners is a rip-roaring hearty adventure full of humour and plenty of fast-paced action scenes. The pace is set right from the beginning of the prologue and continues relentlessly throughout the story.
Set in the land of Labrys, the story follows a misfit band of mercenaries who collect scalps for money, led by Jari Rockjaw, a fierce one-eyed dwarf. In his band, Jari is accompanied by Betha the gruff Minotaur and another dwarf called Toli Hookhand, a comical character obsessed with female dwarves whose warcry is “For the dwarven lasses asses!” In contrast, Jari seems rather serious. The no-nonsense leader has decided it might be time they all retire if they can only earn enough money.
Zog the drunk orc, partial to drinking gut-rot, is coerced into joining them by Betha. We learn that his entire tribe was killed, making him another Loner. Betha is the band’s ruthless muscle with a checkered past, which she doesn’t talk about. Each of these characters is well-rounded and believable if decidedly quirky in their own way!
Despite the name of their fellowship, the Loners are a good example of found family. They are a close-knit group of companions brought together by a need for coin, kept together by familial loyalty.
They are offered a contract which could be their ticket to retirement if only they can survive. It seems like an offer they can’t refuse, especially since they have been mercenaries for over a century and are getting tired of the hard life. On this job, they face many scary foes in battle, including Red Widow spiders, and end up with various wounds and scars, both physical and emotional, due to the tragic outcome of one episode.
One of many funny parts has the group learning to ride the fearless Bohal goats, to differing degrees of success. The goats are hesitant of these inexperienced riders and they end up being bucked off in a variety of unsavory positions. Oh and did I mention there are riddles in an encounter between Jari and a ghost. I always love a riddle!!
This story would be enjoyable for most fans of fantasy and D n D, who enjoy groups of companions on a journey fighting whatever may come their way. Or equally for fans of well-written characters with a ton of heart and irreverent humour thrown in for the hell of it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Buy Loners here:
Add Loners to your To Be Read list here:
About the Author
D.B. Bray is an author and the publishing director at WClark Publishing, the best traditional publishing house in the world. During COVID, he decided to get on Instagram for the first time in his life, and just woke up one day and thought, “I want to start a show called The OoooWeeee Chronicles to showcase underrepresented African American creatives.”
And so began the IG show, The OoooWeeee Chronicles where he has interviewed some of yours and his favorite writers of all time. After asking Wahida Clark to come on the show (with a really janky flyer), his life changed in more ways than he could have dreamed. And every day he gets up, he thanks God for the opportunities he’s been given.
He is the author of the crime series Blood & Whiskey, narrated by the magnificent Irishman, Karl Haycock. The YA adult novel The Last Tribe, narrated by the supercalfragalistic Walt Allen (also of Emperors & Assassins). And as a personal accomplishment, D.B. has co-written with the Queen of Street Lit, on her way to becoming the Queen of Fantasy with your help!
They have co-written The Loners, a mixed mercenary companies of DND characters with a street lit edge. And the topper is their collaboration, The Light Brigade, a new age inclusive Underworld, releasing soon.
When not signing talent, writing, zoom calls, or anything else that happens in his crazy day, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Dolores and his three dogs (Japanese Chins), Chin, Juno, and Sushi. Most days you can find them walking the quiet streets of Ft. Monroe in Hampton, VA.