Guards of Haven: The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher
by Simon R. Green
Cover Artist: Jerry Vangerstelt
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451461698
Date: 04 September 2007 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Hawk and Fisher are two of the toughest cops in the fantasy city of Haven--truly a misnamed place, because nothing here is safe. At least, not when these two fearsome members of the Guard aren't around.
In Guards of Haven, as in the previous Swords of Haven omnibus, Simon R. Green gathers up three novel-length adventures of his two heroes: Wolf in the Fold, Guard Against Dishonor and The Bones of Haven.
In the first story, Hawk and Fisher have to expose a spy whose secret threatens more than the city's security. In the second, the two are under charges after being framed by a nefarious enemy-- one with a lot more power and influence than they suspected. But why were they framed, and who stands to benefit (besides the teeming hordes of wrongdoers in Haven, that is)? And in the third story, a pair of sorcerers prepare to unleash a terrible magic evil upon Haven, with only Hawk and Fisher to stand in their way. Can two cops take down an evil that predates Haven itself? They might need some oversized handcuffs for this one...
Green's hallmark-- mashing up genres and inventing something entirely new and engaging-- is on full display in these three stories. At heart a modern police procedural, the inclusion of a fantasy-medieval setting, magic of various stripes and a backstory familiar to Green's faithful readers, make the Haven series far more than the sum of its parts.
For all that they are based on a familiar archetype-- the loose cannon cop-- Hawk and Fisher are nevertheless more complex and skillfully realized than that. Sure, there's a bit of "you'll lose your badge this time!" and "you're this close to being suspended!" but that's the way the game is played; without it, you lose the tropes that are key to making this kind of mixture work.
Besides, this is the kind of thing Green does best. It's why reading his books is fun. He gets entertainment and is such a cultural omnivore, readers could make copious notes and engage in long conversations about his inspirations, influences and source material.
Speaking of source material, Haven itself is a high-fantasy counterpart to the Nightside, his "dark London" setting for the John Taylor novels (see our reviews here in SFRevu). It's grim, corrupt, dangerous and treacherous in the extreme, which makes for a dynamic, endlessly renewing place to set an adventure. (It should be noted, though, that Haven predates the Nightside by several years.)
If you like your cop drama with a side of magic and supernatural menace, look no further-- this one's for you.