David Tallerman has a degree in English Literature, specializing in Tales of Witchcraft. He currently works as an IT Contractor. Naturally, he writes stories that involve neither.
Easie Damasco is a thief – hardly unique to the fantasy genre. He lacks significant skill in battle, deception and even in thievery. In fact, when we first meet him he’s so poor he’s resorted to stealing food from the camp of an invading warlord.
When he gets caught he’s offered a simple choice: be treated as a common criminal or join up and help the invaders by riding herd on one of their giants. However, as soon as no one’s paying attention he wheels his giant away from the battle, raids the camp and hightails it in the opposite direction.
What ensues is less of a caper than it is a chase story. Easie has somehow turned himself into the equivalent of Harrison Ford’s Fugitive, albeit with a twelve foot tall giant in tow. He spends a great deal of his time ducking away from pursuit and trying to figure out why he’s being chased in the first place.
It also brings him face to face with the central conflict of the series. While Easie is a thief, and a fairly well known one, he’s not rich or well established. Like many people do when deciding on their careers, he seems to have thought that he was starting out on a path to easy money and early retirement, however all he’s gotten himself is more and more trouble. Getting chased by a whole army is certainly an extreme manifestation of that, but it’s hardly the first.
Over the first two books of the series he spends a lot of time thinking about thievery and whether he even wants to keep it up. Given how stubbornly many fantasy characters hew to their profession, that’s unusual in and of itself. On the other hand, everyone knows that all crooks are just looking for a big job that will let them get out of the game. Whether Easie will ever actually try to get out is another matter.
Two things that set Easie apart from other fantasy characters are his friendship with the giant Saltlick, which evolves in a believable fashion and is by no means smooth and one dimensional, and his total lack of magical talent. Far too many fantasy stories rely on magic as an easy out of tough situations, but Easie has no easy button to get him out of a jam. In fact, while incredible creatures like giants do exist in his world, it seems that magic does not. Or if it does, it’s so rare it hasn’t made an appearance yet.
Tallerman hasn’t delved deeply into the history of his world yet, nor do we know much about it outside of the small area that marks the bounds of Easie’s admittedly provincial life, but so far it seems to have a promising start. If you like fantasy without a lot of magical nonsense cluttering it up, or you just like a slightly more realistic look at what a life of crime might really be like in a world with all the technological advancements of the Middle Ages at its disposal, the Tales of Easie Damasco might be for you.
Books in the Easie Damasco series include: