Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Sixty One Nails Sixty One Nails
by Mike Shevdon
Angry Robot

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Sixty-One Nails is Mike Shevdon’s debut novel, and a jolly fine opening work. If I was looking for a genre in which to place Sixty-One Nails I would opt for urban fantasy, though I am not sure if that is the appropriate placement.

The story concerns a middle class, middle-aged male divorcee who, through a near death experience, discovers that the world of the fey (fairies, trolls, wraiths and worse) exists and that he is part fey himself. Stated this baldly Sixty-One Nails stood a good chance of being a very humdrum story indeed, "Hey, I’m part fey. Look at all the fancy things I can do. See all the nasties I can elude." To his considerable credit Mr Shevdon has put a lot of effort in building a creditable story, with believable characters and then woven in two of those anachronistic ceremonies that common law Britain has by the droves to make something well worth reading. At times he has even escaped the common tropes of the genre and created something new, for example two fey trying to source cold iron (inimical to the fey) for a ceremony on which their continued safety depends, to which I doff my hat.

I found the book a real page turner and was very pleased to see that the author has already started on a sequel. If I was to compare Sixty-One Nails to other books it would be to China Mieville’s King Rat and Paul Kearney’s Riding the Unicorn, both books I enjoyed and which left me wanting to read more of the author in question – and that is high praise for fantasy from me.

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