The first thing that I noticed on Tegon Maus’s second installment of the Tucker Littlefield Chronicles was the cover. Front and center on Black Moon, we have perhaps the most unassuming protagonist ever. It immediately made me wonder if Vizzini from the Princess Bride was our main character. Something about the completely normal seeming Littlefield is particularly appealing. Honestly—who puts a balding, middle aged, normal dude as their Fantasy protagonist? Honest people who’ve had enough rippling muscles and flat abs… and Tucker Littlefield is honest (and likeable, too.)
As a major player in the plot (Tucker is responsible for unifying warring people groups and preventing great conflict,) he is unassuming and tries to do the best for all sides while still believing everyone wants that same thing. He remains optimistic and as he attempts to navigate murky political waters and relationships.
Perhaps what I found the most interesting was the intersection of the cultures Maus develops for his story, each with their own unique cultural nuances and language bits. In my opinion, this is where the book shines most and we see it come out in political discussions, battles, and relationships… I especially liked the bit where he is saddled with an extra wife (all explained as a cultural norm for his world) and the very real response and interactions that take place within his household after that, proving that even in fantastic worlds, the hero can still end up in the doghouse.
I did not read the first book in the series, but did not find it too hard to follow along, even though the plot dumps you right into the action without beating the exposition horse to death. Maus does a good job of giving you enough context to keep the story moving even if you aren’t familiar with book 1 (the glossary in the beginning helped.)