Simon Green is primarily known for his urban fantasy series, Nightside, these days, but in the past he has been guilty of committing a different form of urban fantasy rather more in keeping with Black Gate’s favored genre. His Haven series, also known as the Hawk and Fisher series, are seven books telling the tale of a pair of city guards who spend their days and many of their nights patrolling a large city that is caught somewhere between the medieval and renaissance eras. One has the impression of a place rather like Sanctuary, only significantly less schizophrenic and god-bothered.
The books borrow liberally from both mystery and cop genres, but the overall feel is unmistakeably low fantasy. It’s not going too far to describe it as a modern buddy cop series set in a medieval environment with magic, but that would leave an unfairly critical impression. Hawk and Fisher are a married couple, arguably the most prosaic husband-and-wife team in fiction, and they are as wedded to their mission of keeping Haven’s streets temporarily free of the worst of its criminals as they are to each other.
Neither of them is particularly bright nor unusually skilled; what sets them apart from the rest of Haven’s security forces is their dedication and reputation for a willingness to resort to extreme violence. This lack of superlative ability actually makes them more interesting and sympathetic characters, and also allows Green to provide them with a variety of temporary partners who make up for their various deficiencies depending upon the situation.
Green is a good storyteller, and if the Haven books show the usual fantasy series tendency to get ever larger in scope, his plots actually get more interesting from book to book, with the exception of the fifth book. I particularly enjoyed #4, Wolf in the Fold, which could easily have dissolved into farce in the hands of a less competent author, but was surprisingly gripping in an Agatha Christie-like manner. I would readily recommend the Haven books to anyone who liked the Thieves World anthologies.
Style: 3 of 5
Story: 4 of 5
Characters: 3 of 5
Creativity: 3 of 5
Overall Rating: 6.5 of 10