Title: Lord Mouse
Author: Mason Thomas
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 9 hours and 25 minutes
Category: High Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: High fantasy for the normal guy, and highly entertaining.
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.
But that could change.
When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin – enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.
Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.
Review: I enjoy high fantasy. Throw me some wizards or elves or dragons or whatever, and I’m fine with it; though, I know that’s not the case for everyone. And even I can get a bit overwhelmed by the weird, un-pronounceable names, crazy-detailed maps, and knotty political tangles that seem to be the bread and butter of typical high fantasy fare. That being said, Lord Mouse might be the most accessible high fantasy book I’ve come across yet.
Mouse isn’t anything special, really. He’s not magic; he doesn’t have a best wizard friend or ride a magical unicorn into epic battle against denizens of the deep. He’s just good with his hands and works hard at his trade, for reasons of his own. Through the course of the story, he does bump up against a bit of magic—because that’s the world he lives in—but by and large, the true trappings of high fantasy don’t impact his day-to-day much. And, they don’t have much to do with this story. It’s actually really refreshing—high fantasy for the normal guy.
Part caper, part mystery, with a satisfying sprinkle of romance, Lord Mouse is peopled by truly likable characters. In fact, there’s ample opportunity in the midst of all the capering to really get to know the characters and their motivations. It’s satisfying to watch Garron and Mouse reconcile their seemingly divergent value systems and find they’re not so different as they first appear. The action is exciting and sustained. The mystery isn’t extremely deep, but it’s fun to wonder along with Mouse as he tries to figure out just how deep a well he’s jumped into.
Joel Leslie does a wonderful job narrating the various “fantasy” accents—basically, a whole spectrum of accents from the United Kingdom, ranging from the exceedingly proper to the gutter. They clearly come naturally to him and sound effortless and easy to understand. He differentiates between voices well, and doesn’t use any character voices that I wouldn’t want to spend 9+ hours with. My only (very small) quibble would be the occasionally fuzzy line between the voices he selected for Mouse and Garron. They have clearly distinguishable accents, so it’s fine 95% of the time. But when the spoken line is very brief, switches to the other character without a dialogue tag, or doesn’t contain any words that differentiate the accent of the speaker, it sometimes takes a few seconds to identify which character is talking.
Lord Mouse is a book worth getting, and it’s, beyond a doubt, worth getting in the audio format. The characters are interesting, the story exciting and entertaining. You will have a good time whether you enjoy high fantasy or not. Plus, Joel Leslie’s narration is worth the price of admission. If you’re looking for a way to spend your upcoming weekend, this book should absolutely be it.
You can buy Lord Mouse here: