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Literature / Forest Kingdom

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Forest Kingdom is a novel series by Simon R. Green, beginning with Blue Moon Rising, which follows the exploits of Prince Rupert of the Forest Kingdom, Princess Julia of Hillsdown, his unicorn, and her dragon. And The High Warlock.

Its premise: the Forest Kingdom has always had Heroes. Kings with mighty swords of legend, princes who slew dragons by the thousands, champions and knights galore. As well as the occasional mage.

Prince Rupert is not one of them.

He is in fact, the second, unwanted, less skilled, less charming, politically inept, son of King John, and a possible danger to the kingdom and throne due to be inherited by his brother Prince Harald. John thus deems it necessary for Rupert to die, and sends him off on a perfectly reasonable quest to slay a dragon and bring back its hoard — for the Forest Kingdom's Royal Treasury is a little... thin.

Then things get hairy when the Darkwood starts stirring again, and signs point to its creator and their old enemy, the Demon Prince, having returned.

The main series consists of five books; books 1, 4 and 5 center around Prince Rupert and Princess Julia, while books 2 and 3 follow other characters in the bordering kingdoms:

  1. Blue Moon Rising (1991)
  2. Blood and Honor (1992)
  3. Down Among the Dead Men (1993)
  4. Beyond the Blue Moon (2000)
  5. Once in a Blue Moon (2014)

The six-book Hawk & Fisher series (released from 1990-1992 and reissued in the three-book omnibus editions The Swords of Haven and The Guards of Haven in 1999) is set in the Low Kingdoms, on the same continent and in the same universe as the Forest Kingdom, but shifts focus to the southern half of the continent and its port city of Haven, where the titular characters now serve as Captains of the City Guard. It consists of:

  1. Hawk & Fisher (1990)
  2. Hawk & Fisher: Winner Takes All (1991)
  3. Hawk & Fisher: The God Killer (1991)
  4. Hawk & Fisher: Wolf in the Fold (1992)
  5. Hawk & Fisher: Guard Against Dishonor (1991)
  6. Hawk & Fisher: The Bones of Haven (1992)

The Forest Kingdom novel Beyond the Blue Moon, set after the sixth Hawk & Fisher book, reveals that the titular Captains are actually Prince Rupert and Princess Julia from Blue Moon Rising under aliases, having moved to Haven after the events of that book. When a face from their past informs Rupert that his homeland is danger, he and Julia must return to the Forest Kingdom as Hawk and Fisher to protect it one more time.

Once in a Blue Moon, serving as a conclusion to the overall series storyline, sees the couple once again in action, this time facing an old enemy.


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    In general 

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The "Transient Beings", who include such individuals as the Demon Prince, Bloody Bones, the Lord of the Gulfs, The Engineer (who created the Infernal Devices), the Magus, and the Lady of the Lake. These entities seem to be Not-Necessarily-Anthropomorphic Personifications, in that some appear human-like while others are downright bizarre, yet they all embody some greater concept or ideal.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Forest Castle, which is believed to average about five thousand rooms. The entire south wing has been inaccessible for years, and when they finally found a way back they had to go through a Gravity Screw to get there. Inconvenient, since that's the wing that contains the treasury and armory. It's ultimately Brought Down to Normal in book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon) when the source of the magical effect is removed.
  • Catchphrase: The phrase "seen worse, in our/their/my/his/her time" is liable to be expressed, verbally or as internal narrative, whenever a survivor of the Long Night faces something dreadful.
  • Decadent Court: Both series feature a wide variety of these.
    • In Blue Moon Rising, the King's Barons and their allies are openly plotting against him, and even host a gathering of rebels in his own castle, plotting to kill him and install the eldest prince as their puppet ruler. It backfires, because Prince Harald is loyal to his father.
    • In Blood and Honor, the court recklessly dallies with eldritch abominations.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The series contains several types of Eldritch Abominations in addition to the regular evil demons.
    • Blood and Honor has a castle slowly turning into one (a room digests its occupants at one stage, and a person is turned into a living doorway to a dimension full of eldritch abominations). Amongst several others.
    • In Down Among The Dead Men, the Big Bad is explicitly named as an evil from beyond the dawn of time.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Overall, lichs in the Forest Kingdom and Hawk & Fisher series are simply dead bodies animated by a sorcerer's will (or in some cases, the will of an Eldritch Abomination), and aren't required to have been magical themselves when they were alive. However, Hawk & Fisher: Winner Takes All features a more traditional lich, a sorcerer formerly known as Masque, who's been reanimated by his own will in order to continue protecting his friend James Adamant (having died defending him from magical assassination) and now calls himself Igor Mortice. Unlike most examples, his lichdom is a temporary state, and he's forced to hide out in an ice-filled cellar to avert his body's slow and painful decomposition.
  • Silent Antagonist: One of the creepiest things about demons of the Darkwood is that they never make a sound, even when ferociously attacking or being cut to pieces.

    Forest Kingdom #1: Blue Moon Rising 

Tropes found in Blue Moon Rising:

  • Arranged Marriage: Julia has one with Prince Harald. She has no intention of actually fulfilling it though, and leaves the kingdom with Prince Rupert in the end.
  • Artifact of Doom: Played straight with the Infernal Devices.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The Transient Beings. They're all abstract concepts, thoughts, ideals, dreams and beliefs given form and substance in the world of men, and cannot be permanently destroyed. The Demon Prince, who serves as the main antagonist in the first and last stories, is the personification of corruption and darkness.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: In book 1, the last army of the Forest Kingdom slay so many of their demonic attackers that they're shielded, for a time, by the mounded corpses of their enemies. At one point, Rupert climbs over the pile to rush to Julia's assistance.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The titular blue moon unleashes Wild Magic, strong enough to reshape reality.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Prince Rupert (Jerk with a Heart of Gold) and Princess Julia (Tsundere for most of the book). They eventually get their act together at the end and by the time of the sequels are a real Battle Couple.
  • Blob Monster: At one point, a Blob Monster that also probably qualifies as an Eldritch Abomination shows up and needs to be Killed With Fire.
  • Broken Pedestal: The King's oldest friend, Thomas Gray the Astrologer, turned out to have been The Dragon all along.
  • But Now I Must Go: Rupert is not gonna be king, and no way is Julia gonna stay around for an Arranged Marriage with Harald.
  • Celibate Hero: Prince Rupert is very much one, so much so that he even rides a Unicorn and is rather defensive about it. The reason for this is that as a second son he isn't allowed to be sexually active in case of Dynastic complications. This is a minor Truth In Literature, as many younger sons of nobility were packed off to the priesthood for much the same reason in the middle ages, and it had about the same level of effectiveness then as it does in the book.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This book is practically the poster child. The story starts out as a lighthearted Fractured Fairy Tale, but about halfway through the entire world becomes literally Hell on Earth.
  • Cigar Chomper: The goblin leader is seen with a cigar during his first appearance, when he and his band attempt to attack Rupert as he's on his way back home with Princess Julia.
  • Cool Sword: There are any number of cool swords in the series, notably the Infernal Devices — Rockbreaker, Flarebright and Wolfsbane (gigantic, malevolent and sentient magical swords) — and the Curtana, known as the Sword of Compulsion. They're all evil, but undeniably cool. The Rainbow Sword from the same novels is something of an inversion, as it appears to be an entirely normal blade, and doesn't even have a cool name, although it does have its own powers and proves pivotal in the story.
  • Court Mage: The Astrologer, and before him the High Warlock.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Darkwood, a demon-infested blot of absolute darkness. Later in the book it expands to cover everything. Averted with the castle's moat monster, which despite being a borderline Eldritch Abomination is still loyal to the kingdom.
  • Determinator: Prince Rupert, oh so much.
  • Dragon Hoard: The dragon that Rupert's been sent to kill turns out to have collected a vast hoard of butterflies, carefully preserved and pinned in display-cases. When asked why not gold, he merely says that butterflies are just as pretty.
  • Dug Too Deep: The inhabitants of a mining town Dug Too Deep just as the Big Bad awakened. By the time the heroes get there it is far, far too late for anything except revenge.
  • Earthquake Machine: Rockbreaker, one of the three InfinityPlusOneSwords, was one of these.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The High Warlock was set up to be one of these, but turned out to be more of a crabby-but-mostly-harmless old drunk instead.
  • Evil Weapon: The Curtana, known as the Sword of Compulsion. Also the three Infernal Devices: Rockbreaker, Flarebright and Wolfsbane. Subverted a bit, in that these ultra-powerful, ultra-Eeeevil weapons nevertheless fail to get the job done.
  • Eye Scream: Prince Rupert loses an eye in battle during the Demon War. It gets restored in book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon).
  • Fashionable Evil: The reason why the dragon used to raze villages, why the High Warlock polymorphs people who annoy him, and why goblins rob travelers; because it's expected.
  • Gut Punch: The heroes have gone off to get the aid of the High Warlock to deal with the magical problems back home... but when they return, they find that the expanding Darkwood — the very problem they needed his help with — has engulfed the Forest Castle.
  • The Heartless: The demons are just humans who've been taken over by the Darkness, completely against their will.
    • The series also does something of an extension on the the trope by having the Infernal Devices (swords) chosen to fight the demon armies capable of burning the humanity right out of the user, in essence making them the same or worse than the things they're fighting.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Champion stands his ground against a horde of demons at the castle gates, buying time for his allies to get inside the Forest Castle, but at the cost of his life.
  • Hungry Weapon: Flarebright needs blood to fuel its flames.
  • I Lied: The Demon Prince promised to make The Dragon the king of Forest Land. Instead, he just makes him a low-grade demon.
  • Impossible Task: King John sends his second son Rupert to bring back the head of a dragon. Secretly, he hopes Rupert will take this as an excuse to discreetly leave the kingdom, ensuring his older brother's claim to the throne will never be contested. Rupert is wise to his father's real agenda, but stubborn enough to confront the dragon anyway. When the dragon proves both intelligent and friendly, Rupert brings the dragon back alive, which earns him a bit more respect since A) he'd stuck to his mission, and B) he's now got a freaking dragon on his side.
  • Kill It with Fire: Pretty much the only way to kill a really big demon, since they are Weakened by the Light.
  • The Legions of Hell: The demons that swarm out of the Darkwood , although without the Demon Prince's influence they're just random monsters. Beyond the Blue Moon later subverts it when it's revealed the demons are actually humans transformed into murderous monsters.
  • Lunacy: The world is plunged into chaos and darkness when the titular blue moon rises and a demon horde is unleashed.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The High Warlock claimed this was happening, as the rise of science and logic gradually displaced the fantastic from reality.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: A political variant. Sending Prince Rupert out to battle the dragon was essentially an Uriah Gambit to keep him from being a rival for the throne.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The title evil moon also brings with it a side order of eternal night.
  • Our Demons Are Different: These demons are mindless Mix And Match Creatures with no drives except to cause pain. Except for the Demon Prince, who isn't mindless.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: This one is a Retired Badass who collects butterflies instead of gold and gets rescued from the princess.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Prince Rupert arrives at a dragon's lair only to find a dragon who desperately wants to be rid of an aggressive, tomboyish, loud princess who was sent to it to die. When asked later why the dragon is helping them, Rupert answers that he rescued it from a princess.
  • Situational Sword: Early on, Prince Rupert finds a sword which, if its wielder is in a desperate situation and his concern is less for himself than for others, will call down a magical rainbow that disintegrates the supernatural evils caused by the Blue Moon. He nearly gets killed trying to invoke the rainbow in a tight spot where he's the only one he's really worried about.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Prince Rupert's talking unicorn.
  • Spare to the Throne: Prince Rupert, the second-born. His father eventually sends him on a quest for the express purpose of having him get killed off so he won't cause a Succession Crisis (since it doesn't look like Prince Harald, whom their father sees as a worthier heir, is going anywhere anytime soon).
  • Succession Crisis: Book 1 starts with second-born Prince Rupert being sent off to slay a dragon. He knows, however, that it's really his father's way of having him get killed, so as to avoid one of these when it comes time for first-born Prince Harald to take the throne. The climax sees Rupert and Julia willingly leaving the kingdom and becoming Hawk and Fisher, captains of the City Guard of Haven.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Prince Rupert, who rides forth to battle a dragon, is able to do so on a unicorn, having been forced to live chastely so he won't father a child who might one day contest his older brother's throne. The princess he brings back with him, conversely, can't ride the unicorn.
  • Unicorn: Prince Rupert's unicorn steed, Breeze, was captured when young and sold as a slave. He's freed by Rupert about halfway through, but opts to stay with his human friend to fight the demonic invaders.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: The lead character is a male virgin with a loyal, if sarcastic, unicorn. When he rescues a princess who can't ride a unicorn, the trio hastily agree that when they get back to civilization, the unicorn will have to "go lame": otherwise, it'd be far too embarrassing for both humans if he rides in and she walks.
  • Upper-Class Twit: This and all the other Blue Blood tropes appear, but are zig-zagged all over the place.
  • Was Once a Man: The castle's moat monster was originally a messenger who made the mistake of disturbing the High Warlock in the middle of an experiment. It turns out that he could have changed back, but liked life in the new form so much he refused to.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The barons are just unbelievable. They actually tried to stage a revolution in the middle of a continent-wide demonic incursion!
  • Wrecked Weapon: In book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), while the protagonists are facing the Demon Prince, said prince snaps Rockbreaker, one of the Infernal Devices, across his knee.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When the Demon Prince is done with the Astrologer, he turns him into a low-grade demon.

    Forest Kingdom #2: Blood and Honor 

Tropes found in Blood and Honor:

  • Animals Hate Him: Dogs, at least, hate Prince Viktor. When Jordan learns this, it makes him suspicious of the friendly bloodhound he'd found in his quarters earlier, until it turns out the dog was actually a ghost.
  • Anti-Magic: The knight Gawaine owns a magical axe made by the High Warlock. One of its powers is that its blade cancels out any offensive magic in his vicinity.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: After Jordan is kind to him, the ghost boy "Wee Geordie" helps put Jordan into position to save the castle.
  • Body Double: Jordan, an actor, is hired to serve as one for Prince Viktor of Redheart, so nobody will know the real Viktor is unavailable. The transformation into an exact physical duplicate proves to be so effective that it gives him the same royal Blood as the original Viktor, granting him Viktor's fire magic and letting him pass the blood test issued by the Stone of Redheart, thus letting him become king.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: There used to be a magical one around Barrowmeer, the mound where Bloody Bones was buried, in order to keep him dormant. Unfortunately, it's since been dismantled for use as building material elsewhere, which allows Bloody Bones to be reawakened.
  • Dem Bones: Early on, Jordan and his escorts are confronted by Bloody Bones, a Transient Being in the form of a nine-foot, bloody (and blood-drinking) skeleton. Luckily, the knight Gawaine has an Anti-Magic axe that allows him to dispatch the monster, and they plan to dump the skull in a body of water some distance away to ensure he can't come back.
  • Elemental Powers: All members of Redheart's royal family have command over one of the four classical elements — Lewis has earth, Viktor has fire, and Dominic has water, while their sister Gabrielle has air. Roderik Crichton, being a cousin of the late King Malcom, is revealed early on to also have air.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Jordan, an actor and stage magician, is secretly hired to impersonate Prince Viktor of Redhart, who's been poisoned by one of his brothers and rivals for the throne. A transformation spell lets Jordan look just like Viktor, and another grants him insight into the Prince's background, habits and motives. Which, together with Viktor's private ranting about how he's going to unleash a vindictive bloodbath once he's King, spurs Jordan to murder Viktor and assume his identity permanently.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: At one point, Jordan finds a bloodhound in his quarters, who starts growling when a messenger from Prince Lewis shows up. Jordan remembers the old stories about dogs being able to detect evil, and is willing to trust the animal's instincts.
  • The Exile: Prince Viktor was ordered away from his father's castle for attempting to murder his younger brother; both had been courting the same woman, and when she chose Dominic, Viktor was enraged. His exile ends with his father's death though, giving him the chance to attempt to win the crown for himself.
  • Explosive Leash: Prince Dominic has a secret traitor among Prince Viktor's supporters, to feed him information and take covert action in the brothers' rivalry for the throne of Redhart. Dominic "recruited" this traitor by inflicting a mortal wound to the man's chest, then using a spell to prevent the traitor from bleeding out: a spell that only Dominic knows, and that requires daily renewal.
  • Fake Wizardry: Jordan, the main protagonist, is a down on his luck stage actor who uses stage fire magic to good effect against his opponents while posing as a mage prince with elemental fire powers.
  • Fisher King: Castle Midnight starts sliding into a hellish state without a King. As soon as a King is on the throne again the darkness subsides.
  • Friendly Ghost: Ghost boy "Wee Geordie", who calls Jordan for help in order to save the castle steward, and the ghost of a bloodhound that also helps out.
  • Game Between Heirs: Since King Malcom's will is missing, along with the two items used in the ritual coronation, it's initially declared that whichever of his three sons finds those items will become King. The Regent later opens the game of finding these items to anyone of the right Blood, but the three sons all have their own allies standing by to intercept anyone who tries to take the throne that way.
  • Geas: Brion DeGrange was a bandit leader until he was captured and condemned to servitude at Castle Midnight. He was placed under a geas that compels him to work as the castle's head of security, and bars him from any act — drinking to excess, venturing outside, seeking female companionship — that might distract from or diminish his performance at that task. But it doesn't bar him from absolutely hating every minute of it.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Late in the book, King Malcom's will reveals he had personally ordered the items necessary for the coronation, and his will, to be hidden because he realized all three of his sons were monsters and that it was time for someone else to take the throne.
  • In the Back: How Prince Viktor dies at the hands of Jordan himself, after Jordan realizes what a monster he is.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Of the three princes fighting for Redheart's throne, they're all evil and murderous in their own way. Yet Prince Viktor, the middle of the trio, is regarded as the best option to take the throne despite being just as bad as his brothers.
    • Prince Lewis has a violent temper and makes a habit of forcing himself on young ladies from the lesser nobility, or any others who catch his interest (and he also has the habit of murdering them afterward if he feels like it).
    • Prince Viktor, who is also a headstrong and hotblooded lady's man who attempted to murder his own younger brother (which got him exiled from the castle) when the woman they were competing over chose Dominic, and doesn't care if everyone else in the kingdom dies if that's what it takes to achieve his own goals.
    • Prince Dominic is regarded as "barking mad" and having an unhealthy interest in sorcery.
  • Lost Will and Testament: King Malcom's will went missing, leaving his three sons to compete for the throne. It's later revealed he specifically ordered the castle steward to take it and keep it hidden until such time as they felt appropriate.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Castle Midnight, which is slowly turning into an Eldritch Abomination. Amongst the many joys contained therein is a suite that one day spontaneously turned into a stomach and digested the family (including small children) that was living in it.
  • Necromancer: Prince Dominic has been animating dead people as his servants, including Robert Argent, who's supposedly in league with Prince Viktor, turns out to be an undead servant of Prince Dominic due to being held on the very point of death via a fatal wound that Dominic delivered, yet holds at bay, with his own sorcery.
  • Off with His Head!: The skeleton monster Bloody Bones is dispatched via decapitation with an anti-magic axe.
  • Patricide: It's widely believed that one of King Malcom's sons committed this, or at least had it ordered. The final chapter reveals he was indeed murdered by one of his children. The catch is, it was his daughter, who suffocated him via her air magic.
  • Reality Bleed: With King Malcom dead and nobody else able to actively control Castle Midnight's own magic, the energies of the Unreal are threatening to overthrow all natural laws within the building. The only way to reverse the damage is for a new king to be crowned and take charge of the castle's magic.
  • Revenant Zombie: Ironheart, one of Prince Lewis's servants, is essentially a zombie in knight's armor, but remembers who he was in life and why he agreed to become one of the undead. He's also rather tired of being one, but Prince Lewis won't let him die until the Prince has taken the throne.
  • Smoke Out: Smoke bombs are among Jordan's stage tricks. They prove useful in confusing a band of mercenaries that try to attack and kill he and his allies early on.
  • Succession Crisis: There's one after King Malcom of Redheart dies and his three sons start fighting for the crown; to win it, one of the sons — Lewis, Viktor and Dominic — must complete a set of rituals that involve presenting the former King's crown and seal of office to the Stone in the proper ceremony. Complicating things is the fact that Viktor is too ill to actually take part, and an actor named Jordan has been hired to pretend to be him, and that the Regent decides to declare the throne open to anyone of the right Blood who completes the ritual of presenting the crown and seal to the Stone. It later turns out King Malcom had intended him to do this all along. Ultimately, it turns out Jordan qualifies as a candidate, since the spell that transformed him into an exact physical duplicate of Prince Viktor gave him the same Blood and giving him a valid claim to the throne.
  • Supernatural Suffocation: How King Malcom was murdered — his daughter Gabrielle used air magic to draw the breath from his lungs.
  • Time Skip: Set seven years after the events of Blue Moon Rising.
  • Undead Child: At one point, Jordan meets a young boy named "Wee Geordie", who claims to have wandered into his chambers on accident because he got lost while trying to find his mother. Jordan sends him off to the castle steward for help, but soon after, he learns from Damon Cord that the boy was a ghost, dead for over two hundred years, and also one of the friendlier spirits in the castle.
  • Video Wills: When it's finally revealed, King Malcom's will takes the form of a hologram of himself sealed within a ruby.

    Forest Kingdom #3: Down Among the Dead Men 

Tropes found in Down Among the Dead Men:

  • Crippling Overspecialization: Giles Dancer is a Blademaster, a warrior so incredibly skilled with a broadsword as to be nigh-unbeatable in melee combat. He's also incapable of laying out his own bedroll, saddling his own horse, or cooking anything more complex than cheese on crackers.
  • Death of a Child: The border fort where the action takes place was inhabited by men, women and children. Thanks to the Beast, none survived, and the main characters end up having to fight their reanimated corpses, including of children.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The climax of the story involves destroying a giant Eldritch Abomination that's been dormant under a fortress since before humans were there.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast, an ancient evil that went to sleep one day, and is now awakening unless it's stopped.
  • Eye Scream: How the Beast dies. Duncan MacNeil dives into the only part of the creature he can see — a single massive eye — with Wolfsbane, which proceeds to rot its way through the creature.
  • Healing Hands: Thanks to his talent with Wild Magic, Scarecrow Jack can heal even those who are on the verge of death.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Scarecrow Jack, who lives in the woods, steals from the rich and gives to those in need. His frequent targets are tax collectors.
  • Living Memory: The Beast, due to being asleep under the fortress for ages, is dreaming of what things used to be like. Its dreams allow it to conjure living duplicates of other monsters that lived in its time, which are sent to attack the main characters.
  • Make Them Rot: This is the sword Wolfsbane's power. It literally rots its way through whatever it hits, and consequently is the only thing that can really kill the Beast.
  • Nightmare Weaver: This is one of the Beast's powers, causing nightmares in the people around it.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Despite being called lichs, the lichs of this series are simply the risen dead, rather than undead sorcerers.
  • Ranger: The main cast consists of four Rangers, who are basically a commando unit sent to investigate a situation and deal with it, even if it costs them their lives. In this case, it doesn't.
  • Time Skip: Set ten years after the events of Blue Moon Rising, and three years after the events of Blood and Honor.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Normal gold ducats are worthless to Scarecrow Jack, who lives off the bounty of the Forest. Strangely, after having helped recover a large load of gold from the fortress where it was being kept, he doesn't even try to take any to give to people who need it, despite his reputation.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: Subverted. When confronted by a gigantic web that blocks their way, some bandits try to set it alight, but the flame only blackens the material without igniting it. That's because the "web" actually is a monster, not something a monster built.

    Hawk and Fisher — in general 

Tropes found in multiple books of the Hawk and Fisher series:

  • Action Prologue: All of the books start with an action usually unrelated to the story most of the book is dealing with.
    • Book 1 has Hawk and Fisher dealing with a vampire in the first chapter, before moving on to the case that will last the rest of the book.
    • Book 2 has them breaking up a riot by rival political groups.
    • Book 3 has them dealing with a renegade homunculus that's been killing people.
    • Book 4 has them hunting a spy, codenamed Fenris.
    • Book 5 has them leading a whole army of guards against a drug kingpin's warehouse.
    • Book 6 has them working with a Special Wizards and Tactics squad to quell a prison riot, including a special wing where inhuman monsters are kept prisoner.
  • The Alcoholic: Recurring character Lord Arthur Sinclair, who spends most of his time drinking (he even started his own political party based on removing all taxes on alcohol), and it's suggested by some that he's trying to drink himself to death.
  • Anti-Magic: Used to a person's benefit and their enemy's downfall more than once.
    • In book 1, Councillor William Blackstone wears an amulet that disables magic within a limited area around him. The killer makes use of this to slip him a glass of poison, transmuted into wine, that reverts to its true form when in range of the amulet, but turns back into normal wine outside of its range.
    • Hawk wields an enchanted axe that has the power to disrupt sorcery, gifted to him by a wizard friend.
    • In The God Killer, Fisher carries a suppressor stone with this ability, which is used to de-animate a renegade homunculus (an artificial construct held together by magic).
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The titular Battle Couple frequently fight like this. This is especially helpful for Hawk as he lost an eye and needs Fisher to watch his blind side.
  • Badass Cape: Deconstructed; the Battle Couple are obliged to wear capes as part of their Watch uniforms; however, Hawk hates his because it gets in the way during fights. He puts up with wearing one for Fisher's sake but seizes any plausible opportunity to "accidentally" abandon or destroy his (smothering fires, ditching it when it's pinned to the wall by a crossbow bolt, etc). A subversion, as going capeless doesn't diminish Hawk's Badass Quotient one bit.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Not only are the title characters the only City Guards of Haven to have never taken bribes, they are also so freaking darn competent that the rest of the Guard looks exactly like this trope in comparison.
  • Battle Couple: Captain Hawk and his wife, Captain Isobel Fisher, work in the City Guard and fight side by side on a regular basis.
  • Braids of Action: Isobel Fisher is described as wearing her hair in a French braid with a heavyweight at the end, for use as a weapon.
  • Crapsack World: The city of Haven is the Wretched Hive version, where even the "gods" aren't above greed, mayhem, sociopathy and a host of other antisocial tendencies, but still attract worshippers.
  • Determinator: Hawk and Fisher are definitely up there as determinators. Despite being completely human, they're willing to go up against anything Haven can throw at them and stick to their principles. Usually while insisting they've seen worse.
  • Driven to Suicide: Multiple characters do this. Sometimes, they're successful.
    • In book 1, Katherine Blackstone thinks she did this to her husband by telling him about her affair with Edward Bowman, and subsequently stabbed him with his own dagger to make it look like a murder and preserve his reputation. She's wrong — he was poisoned by another person.
    • In the same book, Adam Stalker commits suicide in the end to avoid arrest for the murders and other crimes he committed.
    • In Winner Takes All, after realizing the woman he'd loved was just using him and the man he was Advisor to now things him a traitor, Stefan Medley attempts to kill himself by slitting his wrists. Luckily, Roxanne realizes she's developed real feelings for him, and so finds him and gets him medical help in time to save his life.
    • In Wolf in the Fold, the spy "Fenris" jumps to his death to avoid arrest for his crimes, and to avoid publicly embarrassing his family and friends by having them associated with a known criminal.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Hawk has an eyepatch over one eye, as well as several scars along his face. Unusually enough, he does have depth perception problems, at least to the point where he prefers to fight with a short-handled axe rather than a sword. He's almost over-the-top in levels of 'experienced badass combatant', though, even with this handicap. The truth isn't revealed (both in-universe and to readers) until Beyond the Blue Moon, when it comes out that Hawk is actually Prince Rupert from Blue Moon Rising, who lost the eye in battle against a Big Bad.
  • Fictional Political Party: The city of Haven is feuded over by Conservative and Reform blocs, with minority factions representing merchants' Free Trade, the militant/religious Brotherhood of Steel, and Lord Sinclair's personal No Tax On Liquor agenda (a.k.a. the Who's For A Party? party).
  • Flawed Prototype:
    • Bode's homicidal first homunculus in The God Killer is one, and he admits to having made some mistakes in its creation.
    • The anti-magic suppressor stones that were handed out at one point were later shown to be faulty and placed under a recall, as mentioned in Wolf in the Fold — some of them had a habit of exploding. Hawk and Fisher weaponize this when they let theirs explode in the hands of the enemy sorcerer Grimm.
  • The Informant: The City Guard has them, though Hawk and Fisher don't much approve of such types.
  • Internal Reformist: The Reform party, which is working to clean up the corruption in Haven. Its members include Councillor William Blackstone in book 1; when he's murdered, it's figured that one of his corrupt rivals did it or had it done to protect their own interests. Similarly, Hawk and Fisher get assigned to act as bodyguards for another Reformer, James Adamant, in Winner Takes All.
  • Mercy Kill: Used multiple times.
    • In book 1, the sorcerer Gaunt has to do this to his succubus companion after she's badly injured by a werewolf.
    • In Wolf in the Fold, Hawk and Fisher use a magic-nullifying stone to end the anguish of several still-conscious dissection specimens, human and animal, in an evil sorcerer's house.
    • In The Bones of Haven, Wulf Saxon kills one of the villains of the book at the man's request, as he's been fatally injured already.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Hawk tells people all kinds of improbable stories for how he lost his eye, such as he pawned it or lost it in a card game. The truth (that he got clawed in the face by a demon) isn't revealed until his real identity as Prince Rupert of the Forest Kingdom comes out in Beyond the Blue Moon.
  • Occult Detective: The fantasy beat-cops Hawk and Fisher, who typically investigate cases involving magic and/or monsters.
  • Only One Name: Hawk's only name is Hawk. As stated in Wolf in the Fold:
    Commander Dubois: Captain Fisher can go by her given name of Isobel. That's quite a fashionable name at the moment. But we don't seem to have a given name on the files for you, Captain Hawk.
    Hawk: There isn't one. I'm just Hawk.
    Commander Dubois: You only have the one name?
    Hawk: I've had others. But I'm just Hawk now.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • In book 1, Adam Stalker has this opinion towards women and doesn't bother to hide it.
    • As seen in Winner Takes All, the Brotherhood of Steel has much the same attitude. One of their members, Jeremiah Rukker, outright tells Hawk that he's letting himself be held back by partnering with a woman.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims:
    • In the very first book, when Councillor William Blackstone is found dead, the title characters order the house sealed with everyone stuck inside. The other guests start dropping dead soon after.
    • In Wolf in the Fold, when Hawk and Fisher go undercover in a tower belonging to a noble family, they once again get sealed in for a day, with a mysterious murderer on the loose.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: Hawk uses an axe instead of the standard-issue police sword. Justified because he used to be a master swordsman, but after he lost an eye (and thus the depth perception needed for refined swordplay), his sword skills declined and he needed a new type of weapon to better make up for this.
  • Wretched Hive: The series' setting is the port city of Haven, a city-state overrun with spell-casters, demons, and thieves, and so corrupt that the title characters can justly make the claim of being the only guards who have never taken a bribe or looked the other direction.

    Hawk and Fisher # 1 
  • Bizarre Gambling Winnings: Hawk claims to have lost his missing eye in a card game. He was just kidding though.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: In book 1, when a noblewoman asks one-eyed Hawk what became of his eye, he gives the ridiculous excuse that he lost it in a card game.
  • Destroy the Abusive Home: In book 1, the DeFerrier house had a very unpleasant set of previous owners. One of the suspects in the case has been trying to buy the house off its newest owner, and it's later discovered that he is in fact the last DeFerrier, trying to buy the house so he can burn it down.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Attempted unsuccessfully in book 1, where Hawk and Fisher are targeted by one person for failing to keep another person alive. The killer is Lord Roderik Hightower, who blames them for the death of his son.
  • False Reassurance: In book 1, all the murder suspects attest under a truth spell that, no, they didn't kill the two victims. This is correct, because the victims were killed by different suspects.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: At the end of book 1, Hawk and Fisher decide to report that Lord Roderik Hightower, who was responsible for most of the deaths in the book, was responsible for all of them in order to protect the posthumous reputation of the other killer.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: In the first novel, legendary warrior Adam Stalker holds a werewolf over his head in this fashion, as this is the only way he can safely restrain the snarling, clawing monster long enough for others to fetch a silver weapon.
  • Lie Detector: A truth spell is used in book 1, which forces people to speak only truthful statements. This attempt to find out who committed two murders fails, due to the murders having been committed by two different people, each of whom could truthfully deny having killed both victims.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In book 1, Councillor William Blackstone is found dead in his locked room, with a knife in his chest, and anti-teleportation wards preventing anyone from getting in and out that way. Later subverted when two of the suspects admit that one of them found him dead first, and locked the door afterward to make it look like one of these.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: In the first book, Hawk claims to have lost his missing eye in a card game. He was just kidding though.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In book 1, when Hawk and Fisher question suspects about the two murders under a truthspell, all the suspects can correctly answer "No" when asked if they murdered Victim #1 and Victim #2. They can honestly say this because the two deaths were the handiwork of different killers.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires (only seen in brief detail in book 1) fall under the "rotting corpse that clawed out of its grave" category, right down to mold growing on the skin. They sometimes have a servant known as a Judas Goat, who (by virtue of appearing outwardly sane, unlike Dracula's Renfield) acts as the vampire's protector. Others use psychic tricks to appear like ordinary and trustworthy humans, even as they're reeking of mildew and drenched in the blood of the last poor sucker they'd fooled. They also drink blood, must stay in their coffins during daylight (which proves a fatal weakness; Hawk attacking the vampire's coffin with his axe drives it to distraction as it desperately tries to protect said coffin, putting it into position for Hawk and Fisher to kill it), are weak to garlic and hawthorn, and can only be killed by first staking them, then decapitating them, burning the head and body separately, and scattering the ashes in different places.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The ones in book 1 are humanoid when transformed, and can change at any time while the full moon is out. They're also filled with an uncontrollable killing rage during the full moon, and heal from any wound not inflicted by silver.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Lord Roderik Hightower lost his son Paul to a werewolf attack a year before the series started, and has never forgiven Hawk for failing to kill the beast first.
  • Playing with Fire: As seen in book 1, succubi are capable of doing this.
  • The Power of Legacy: Happens twice in book 1, once when the Battle Couple Guards claim that The Renfield of a vampire they'd battled was just another victim, and again when they blame all the deaths at Gaunt's mansion on the guest who was secretly a werewolf. In the former case, it's to spare the feelings of the man's widow; in the latter, it's to preserve Adam Stalker's reputation as a hero Haven's people can look up to.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Many, many criminals in Haven use or try to use this to get away with their crimes, including the villain of book 1, an influential person who got Hawk and Fisher pulled off a case involving a child prostitution ring he was a patron for. It's also why he killed William Blackstone, who'd also figured out his involvement and was building a case against him.
  • Succubi and Incubi: In book 1, the sorcerer Gaunt keeps a succubus bound in a magic circle as a companion. He admits that she's a source of pleasure and also for much of his power, and she's the one who carried out the Devil's Hook massacre, single-handedly destroying the gangs that controlled the area. She's also capable of generating fire.
  • This Bear Was Framed: Book 1 mentions a case where someone carried out murders with a stuffed bear paw attached to a club, making people think the deaths were just normal animal attacks.
  • Truth Serums: Truthspells, as they're called, are a magical version. In book 1, the sorcerer Gaunt casts one so Hawk and Fisher can question the murder suspects in his house. The spell doesn't prevent them from withholding information or answering in a deceptive way, though, so all of them get away with saying "no" when asked if they committed the murders. Turns out there are two murderers, each of whom committed a different murder; when Hawk asks each of them if they killed Blackstone and Bowman, both murderers were able to truthfully answer no.
  • Two Dun It: Turns out to be the case in book 1. A werewolf proves responsible for most of the murders due to being trapped in a house full of potential victims during the full moon, but Adam Stalker, a member of the influential DeFerrier family who was operating under an alias was responsible for the deaths of Councillor William Blackstone and later his wife Katherine.
  • You Are What You Hate: In book 1, Lord Roderik Hightower spent years obsessively going out hunting werewolves. He only ever found one, but it was enough — the werewolf bit him and turned him into the very thing he despised.

    Hawk and Fisher #2: Winner Takes All 

  • Attack of the Political Ad: Elections in Haven can get ugly, as seen in Winner Takes All. For the one day that campaigners are allowed to go out electioneering, the candidates can put out anything they want, including remarks and posters to make the other candidates look bad.
  • Bloody Murder: One of the assassination attempts on Reform candidate James Adamant in Winner Takes All involves a monster made of blood.
  • Condensation Clue: In Winner Takes All, a political candidate's hired sorcerers deliver a death threat to his opponent James Adamant via this trope, magically causing a window to fog up and then "drawing" a leering, speaking face in the fog with the tracks of dripping water, followed by a telepathic whisper.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the climax of Winner Takes All, a corrupt politician who'd engineered a campaign of mayhem against his opponent and everyone who'd dared support his rival is killed, not by the heroes or any of the other Badass killers and traitors on either side of the election, but by the mousy, terrified wife he'd been beating for years, who seized the moment of his downfall to stab him thirty or forty times.
  • Election Day Episode: Winner Takes All is about Haven's annual election, and how Hawk and Fisher get stuck protecting one of the candidates.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: First mentioned in Winner Takes All, the "No Tax On Liquor" party is a political party that's single-handedly run and funded by a Lord Sinclair, and is dedicated to... getting rid of the tax on liquor.
  • Eye Scream: After the sorcerer Wulf (an ally of Hardcastle) gets possessed by the Lord of the Gulfs, its power begins to consume him. When he eventually takes off his hood, it reveals that the Transient Being has consumed nearly all of its host's tissues, eyeballs included.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: When showing itself to a group of people at one point, the Lord of the Gulfs (a Transient Being embodying famine) demonstrates its power by calling up a huge crowd of ghostly figures in the last stages of starvation. At its bidding, the ghosts turn upon each other, screaming in horror at their own deeds even as they devour each others' ectoplasmic flesh and bones.
  • No Man of Woman Born: In Winner Takes All, the Lord of the Gulfs tells the main characters that it was promised at creation that neither the living nor the dead could stop it. It gets defeated by a sorcerer turned lich.
  • Put on a Bus: It's mentioned here that the sorcerer Gaunt from book 1 left Haven after the events of that novel.
  • Pyromaniac: Roxanne, one of the mercenaries hired by Hardcastle, loves setting random fires for the fun of it.
  • Rain of Blood: Early on, a magical attempt on a politician's life causes a rain of blood inside his house. The blood then forms into monsters and attacks everyone.
  • Self-Insert Fic: In-Universe, as revealed in Winner Takes All, one minor character is a self-promoting mercenary named Joshua Kincaid who writes loads of over-the-top adventure stories about his own "incredibly heroic deeds", then publishes them as mass-market chapbooks under a pseudonym.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: In Winner Takes All, Joshua Kincaid is one of a pair of mercenaries (along with his partner, Laurence Bearclaw) who help to protect James Adamant. He also has a sideline, writing chapbook adventure-stories and songs with himself as the hero under a nom de plume.
  • Taking You with Me: After the Lord of the Gulfs tells its enemies that neither the living nor the dead can stop it, the undead sorcerer Mortice uses a Word of Power to engulf himself in flames, and then grabs hold of the Lord of the Gulfs and utterly incinerates them both.
  • Two Dun It: Early on, James Adamant tells Hawk and Fisher that someone's been embezzling from him, and leaking information on his campaign to his enemies. It's revealed later that two different people were responsible — his political advisor had fallen for a woman who was working for the opposition and was being tricked into telling her all sorts of things, while Adamant's wife Dannielle was embezzling to feed her drug habit.

    Hawk and Fisher #3: The God Killer 

  • Anthropomorphic Vice: In The God Killer, the medieval-fantasy beat cops stop off at the Temple of John Barleycorn for a refreshing libation after a hard day of investigating a crime spree in the religious district.
  • Body Double: Homunculi can be illegally made to serve this role. When the sorcerer Bode's dead body is found, it's later revealed to have been just another of his doubles, and de-animating it just returned the animating spirit back into their original body.
  • Dying Alone: In The God Killer, the sorcerer Tomb regularly sneaks away from his work to provide company to a dying deity, Le Bel Inconnu, whose church became extinct many generations ago. He claims that even a god shouldn't be left to die alone. When Tomb is mortally wounded, the ephemeral god expends the last of its dwindling energy to join him, allowing both of them to avert this trope.
  • Eye Remember: Referenced early in The God Killer when Hawk and Fisher are told that they could easily get a glimpse of the killer's face. Fisher, noticing that the victim's head is gone, asks how that's possible, since they'd need the head first — the killer's face would have been reflected in the dead person's eyes. The Guard Doctor calls that an old superstition and tells them they have other options.
  • Eye Scream: In The God Killer, one of the priesthoods interrogated by Hawk and Fisher sews its members' eyelids together because the sight of their patron Being would burn out their eyesight. Another, creepier cult's priests have no eyes, only empty sockets, but still open their eyelids and "look" at the Guards as they walk past.
  • Familiar: In the opening case of the book, Hawk and Fisher investigate killings performed by the Dark Man, whom they discover is a prototype homunculus created to serve as a familiar and bodyguard to the sorcerer Bode. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of loading it with all his negative feelings, so it ended up getting loose and killing people after Bode himself supposedly died.
  • Geas: Members of the God Squad have an Exorcist Stone that can destroy any Being, even one worshipped as a god. They also have a geas on them to keep them from doing it except in the line of duty. One of them, a mystic named Rowan, figures out that by inhabiting a series of homunculi instead of her own body, she can get around the geas and kill any god she pleases.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In The God Killer, a psychotic magical construct calling itself the Dark Man goes on a rampage, part of which involves it smacking Watch officers around with the human head it's carrying.
  • I Will Wait for You: Sister Anna, the only remaining follower of the Sundered Man. The others left after 22 years of their worship was discredited by his death; she stayed, before and after, because she was in love with him and never cared if he was a God or not.
  • Kill the God: The goal of the title character in The God Killer is to do this... or at least, to kill beings that are worshipped as gods, yet don't have the power to save the titular killer from dying of cancer, and whom the killer thus considers to be only pretenders and thus deserving of death. A conversation early in the book also confirms that the Abomination, a once-worshipped entity destroyed in the previous novel, also rated as a God by the Street's standards, thus making Mortice a god-killer.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: At one point in The God Squad, Hawk and Fisher come face to face with an androgynous demon called up by decadent young nobles. Unfortunately for its summoners, it started draining their lifeforce to sustain itself, until the title characters deactivated the spell and sent it back to where it came from.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: Their creation is illegal, for one thing; as exact physical duplicates of a person, they make it hard to keep bloodlines pure. They're also good for pulling a Kill and Replace, and for creating entire armies. They can also be inhabited by the mind of a living person; the titular God Killer, and the sorcerer Bode, who created the Dark Man homunculi, have been taking up residence in their bodies when needed.
  • Relative Error: When investigating the members of the God Squad, Fisher tracks one of them, Charles Buchan, to the base of the Sisters of Joy, who are basically a religion dedicated to sex and pleasure. She assumes he's there to partake of what they offer, until he admits the truth — the woman he loved had died giving birth to their illegitimate daughter Annette, who's grown up as one of the members, and he only recently found out about her.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: The God Killer features the God Squad, a special unit of Haven's police force who deal with supernatural phenomena and entities.

    Hawk and Fisher #4: Wolf in the Fold 

  • Bifauxnen: The Little Lord from Wolf in the Fold is essentially a female Gentleman Thief; a tall, handsome woman who dresses in slightly old-fashioned upper-class male clothes, complete with short hair and monocle.
  • Dead All Along: The last chapter reveals that one of the guests at Tower MacNeil was secretly the MacNeil Family Guardian, whose spirit has been residing in his own painting for hundreds of years and only emerging when he was needed. He's also the "freak"'s father, and his position as Guardian is his penance for the things he'd done to his son.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: This book marks the first appearance in Green's work of Razor Eddie, who later becomes a supporting character in the Nightside series.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In Wolf in the Fold, a spy Hawk is pursuing throws a dagger at the Guard and pins his cloak to the wall. Hawk isn't hurt, but the few seconds it takes him to unfasten the cloak's clasp gives the fleeing spy a head start. Later, the Guard Commander berates him for losing the spy and his cloak, which he'd left behind still pinned to the wall.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: In Wolf in the Fold, the noble MacNeil family's dark Family Secret is the existence of "the freak". The physical deformities, it's noted, could have been overlooked — "occasional unfortunates were inevitable when the Quality became as inbred as it had in Haven" — but when the freak proved to be an immortal energy vampire who drained the life force of any living thing near it, that was horrific enough that his father walled him up in a secret room in Tower MacNeil where he remained undying but quiescent until the Family stopped feeding him.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Literally. The sorcerer Grimm uses magic to change other peoples' looks for a fee, as he does with the spy Fenris.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: In Wolf In The Fold, the Freak's mouth was kept sewn shut by his father over many decades' captivity. This wasn't fatal, because the Freak lived on absorbed life force rather than food.
  • Of Corset Hurts: In her disguise as a member of the MacNeil family, Fisher has to wear a corset and hates every minute of it.
  • Princess for a Day: Wolf in the Fold sees the main characters (who would later canonically be revealed as actual royalty) going undercover as minor nobility to catch a spy who's stolen extremely sensitive information.
  • Tablecloth Yank: Gleefully averted in Wolf in the Fold, in which Fisher snatches up a tablecloth to cover the naked body of a dead man. The toppling crash of place settings is described in all its destructive glory.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Discussed in Wolf in the Fold. After reading the papers that document the secret history of "the freak", the characters discover that it not only steals lifeforce, it takes the memories of its victims and believes it's actually them, for a while at least, with the very first victim of this being its own mother. After learning this, Hawk speculates that "the freak" has pulled a Kill and Replace on one of their host's guests (whose body had been found in the chimney), using a strong illusion spell to blend in, but because of the memory-stealing effect, doesn't realize they'd done so. Ultimately subverted when they're actually revealed, and it's shown that they knew who they were the whole time.
  • Video Wills: In Wolf in the Fold, Duncan MacNeil leaves a prepared illusion as his will, complete with instructions on precisely how his relatives are to be seated in the room where it will be activated. That way, when his 3D image appears, it can address his son, daughter, sister and others "face to face".

    Hawk and Fisher #5: Guard Against Dishonor 

  • Autocannibalism: In Guard Against Dishonor, a teenager doped out of her mind on super-chacal has her belly ripped open by her equally-berserk boyfriend. When Hawk and Fisher find her, she's nibbling on her own exposed guts.
  • Collapsing Lair: This trope turns nasty in Guard Against Dishonor. As per tradition, the pocket dimension in which a deadly new drug is being prepared fails when the sorcerer that created it is killed by the Watch; untraditionally, this has worse consequences than just a dramatic race for the exit, as the pocket's collapse takes a crowded city tenement down with it, causing hundreds of civilian casualties. This was deliberately planned by the drug lord who'd had the pocket dimension created, to discredit the Watch and make it easier to escape with the drugs in the midst of a disaster.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In Guard Against Dishonor, during the peace talks between Outremer and the Low Kingdoms, one of the delegates is revealed to be the lead villain of the book; after being exposed, he claims his diplomatic immunity will protect him from anything. He's wrong, seeing as one of his own countrymen murders him via slipping him a dose of his own super-chacal drug so he'll tear himself apart in his cell.
  • Inverse Law of Complexity to Power: Lampshaded in Guard Against Dishonor, in which the sorceress Mistique criticizes an opposing wizard who's specialized in controlling wood, claiming he was limited by that choice. When Hawk points out that she, herself, only works with mists, she remarks that you can do a lot with mist.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Much of Guard Against Dishonor is set up so as to get that series' married-cop protagonists, Hawk and Fisher, to fight one another, as the bad guys implicate Fisher in police corruption while alleging Hawk has gone rogue and is killing innocent people. When they finally meet, it's subverted, because they both care about each other more than about their duty as cops, so wouldn't have attacked each other even if the allegations had been true.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Retrieving survivors from the depths of the collapsed tenement, Hawk has no choice but to amputate a mercifully-unconscious little girl's foot to free her from the rubble. The news that the child expired from her injuries nearly pushes him over the edge. The ending reveals this was a lie meant to rattle Hawk, as the girl actually recovered fully, her foot re-attached with a healing spell.
  • Peace Conference: Guard Against Dishonor features a secret one being held in Haven, between the Low Kingdoms and the kingdom of Outremer. Naturally, some people don't want the talks to succeed, so Fisher is assigned to security, where she ends up getting framed for one of the attacks on the gathering.
  • Price on Their Head: In Guard Against Dishonor, when Fisher is framed as a traitor, a bounty is briefly placed on her head. It's revoked when she helps catch the real traitor.
  • Psycho Serum: Guard Against Dishonor features a dealer attempting to introduce super-chacal (an even stronger version of the drug chacal) into Haven. The drug turns its users into super-strong madmen who'd murder anyone in their way, even themselves if there's nobody else to attack.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The lead villain of the book plans to use the super-chacal drug to create a war between his country and others, all so he can make money off the drug and other things in the war.

    Hawk and Fisher #6: The Bones of Haven 

  • Artifact of Doom: The Bones of Haven features Messerschmann's Portrait, a magical booby trap. Its prisoner was the thief Wulf Saxon, who'd been imprisoned in it for 23 years after an unwise attempt to rob a sorcerer. Although insane at first after being freed, he regains his senses by a fluke of events and subsequently discovers he's acquired superhuman strength, speed and stamina, as if all the concentrated energy of those twenty-three years is at his disposal.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: In The Bones of Haven, the ghosts of animals that were killed at a slaughterhouse are summoned up en masse and rampage through the city. Crazed and furious, they retaliate against humanity by killing and eating people: a gruesome act of vengeance that even the sheep take part in.
  • Back from the Dead: In the finale of The Bones of Haven, everyone who died as a result of the animal spirits' rampage, including Hawk, Fisher and Wulf Saxon — who all sacrificed themselves to open the portal to the other side, where the animal spirits were summoned from — are resurrected after the trio talk to a remaining lion spirit and explain why their actions are wrong.
  • Catchphrase: Wulf Saxon combines his with Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    "I've had a really bad day. You're about to have a worse one."
  • Cobweb Jungle: Taken to extremes in The Bones of Haven, where the titular characters must hunt monsters in tunnels overgrown by "Crawling Jenny": an amorphous carnivorous life form made up of cobwebs, fungus, and moss.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In The Bones Of Haven, the leader of an urban-fantasy Special Wizardry And Tactics team throws herself on the sword of a terrorist fanatic to give her squad the chance to take the man down. Doubles as a Moment Of Awesome, as she sneers in his shocked face and asks him: "You didn't think you were the only one willing to die for your beliefs, did you?"
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The main storyline is essentially ''Die Hard With Swordfights", complete with an ostensible hostage-ransom scenario that's cover for something nastier, a lone Spanner in the Works sneaking around a big terrorist-occupied facility taking out the baddies, and even an homage to the kick-through-the-window-while-dangling-over-a-fatal-drop scene.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In The Bones Of Haven, when Hawk and Fisher are sent in to quell a prison riot, they learn that the escaped rioters have been trying and executing some of the other prisoners — specifically, those who were in prison for rape and/or child abuse. Ellis Glen, a psychopathic terrorist who's been killing people since he was an adolescent, is still appalled at Madigan's suggestion that the spirit of a slain member of their cadre be summoned back from the grave and interrogated about the man who killed him.
  • Giant Spider: In The Bones of Haven, Hawk, Fisher, and the Special Wizardry and Tactics team fight a giant spider while traversing the sewers.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: The villains of The Bones of Haven are willing to sacrifice anything, even their own lives, to their cause — the total destruction of the kingdom of Outremer, and of the Low Kingdoms with it.
  • Healing Factor: Johnny Nobody, one of the prisoners in the Hell Wing (reserved for inhuman monsters) in The Bones of Haven, is cursed with one that won't let him die. Even being torn apart by the monster from Messerschmann's Portrait won't kill him, as his body's seen knitting itself back together afterward; it's uncertain if being eaten by the monster Crawling Jenny (which subsequently got destroyed by a magical incendiary, actually a frozen moment in time from an exploding volcano) actually killed him or not.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: In The Bones of Haven, one of the prisoners in the Hell Wing (reserved for inhuman monsters) is Johnny Nobody, thought to be a sorcerer who's now just a human shape held together by surface tension, and stealing skin and bones from other people to survive because his body keeps rejecting the replacements. He's apparently tried to kill himself several times, but it's never worked because his curse won't let him die.
  • Mugging the Monster: Happens to a lot of people stupid enough to mess with Wulf Saxon.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: The Bones of Haven shows the titular police captains having to talk down a sorcerer who killed his girlfriend, then turned the body into a magical puppet which moved around at his command, thus feeding his delusion that the girl wasn't really dead. Hawk ends the confrontation by burying his axe in the dead girl's head so that the sorcerer can no longer maintain the belief that she's alive.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: The Bones of Haven has Messerschmann's Portrait, a painting that works as a magical booby-trap: if a person looks into it for too long, they end up trapped in the highly unpleasant landscape of the painting, from which they can only be released if someone else falls for the trap and takes their place. Someone who spends too long trapped in the portrait comes out no longer entirely human, and completely insane.
  • Playing with Fire: The Special Wizards And Tactics squad in The Bones of Haven have use of magical incendiary grenades, which are actually frozen moments in time from an exploding volcano.
  • Raising the Steaks: In The Bones of Haven, thousands of enraged animal ghosts are called up from a slaughterhouse, materialize as zombies, and embark on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against humanity.
  • Rip Van Winkle: In a supporting-character example, Wulf Saxon from The Bones Of Haven got trapped inside a booby-trapped magical portrait for 23 years while attempting to rob a sorcerer. No time passes for him, but by the time he's set free, his family are all dead or penniless, his friends have become callous and hostile, and the city he'd once hoped to reform has become a Wretched Hive far worse than he remembers.
  • Spooky Painting: The Bones of Haven introduces Messerschmann's Portrait, a painting which, if you look at it too long, will trap you in the hellish landscape it depicts.
  • Swallowed Whole: In The Bones of Haven, a giant spider encountered in the sewers lands on Hawk when it's killed. While it doesn't actually swallow him, he punches a hole in its descending abdomen with his axe, ends up inside its (mostly hollow) belly, then spends the next couple of minutes hacking his way out.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: Used in the prison Cold Open of The Bones of Haven. Complicated by the fact that this particular Cobweb Jungle is alive, and mobile enough to freak out when it starts to burn.

    Forest Kingdom #4: Beyond the Blue Moon 

Tropes found in Beyond the Blue Moon:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Prince Rupert effectively does this by refusing to take the throne in his brother's place. His father, King John IV, also did so by faking his death in the aftermath of the Demon War and becoming a hermit.
  • Action Prologue: The book starts with Hawk and Fisher dealing with a haunted house, and then a strike by dockworkers that turns ugly when the scab zombie force that's replaced them suddenly turns into a violent army.
  • A Degree in Useless: Allen Chance earned degrees in law, philosophy, literature and military strategy from his school, but none of them helped him get a job, since most prospective employers considered him to be overqualified.
  • Another Dimension: Reverie, home of the Blue Moon and the Transient Beings, and source of Wild Magic. The Inverted Cathedral serves as the last real Gateway to it.
  • Autocannibalism: During the first chapter, in order to defeat a sorcerer commanding a zombie army and augmented by having a small parasitic demon connected to him, Hawk cuts the umbilicus that connects the demon to its host. Denied its source of nourishment, the demon attacks Hawk, jabbing at his throat with the severed cord's end in an attempt to make him its new host. Hawk grabs the cord and jams its end into the demon's own belly, and it sucks itself bodily into its own umbilicus and disappears.
  • Back for the Dead: The sorcerer Gaunt returns for the first time since the end of book 1, this time commanding a zombie army, and ends up dead at Fisher's hands when it's clear there's no reasoning with him.
  • Berserk Button: The dog Chappie does not like being mistaken for a wolf.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Forest Castle itself, thanks to the Inverted Cathedral (which it was built around) being re-inverted as a result of the climactic battle, restoring it to its original form.
  • Clark Kenting: When Rupert and Julia return to the Forest Kingdom as Hawk and Fisher, they count on their both having aged to conceal their real identities. With the masses, it seems to work, mostly because their official portraits are so idealized as to look nothing like they had even when they were younger; at the end it's subverted, as everyone who'd actually known them admits that they'd recognized them both immediately, but kept quiet about it for reasons of politics and/or to respect their wish for anonymity.
  • Desperate Object Catch: An assassin/sorcerer under powerful magical protection takes the infant king hostage, and demands that the Queen Regent trade her life for the boy's. At the last moment, the Queen's father tosses a protective amulet for his royal daughter to catch, and its power lets her bypass the assassin's shielding spells and cut his throat with her own concealed dagger.
  • Dung Fu: The Shaman, a hermit who got sick of peasants assuming he's some sort of holy prophet, has a history of throwing mud and deer scat at would-be supplicants so they'll leave him alone.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Played with and justified when Hawk and Fisher confront a crime lord who keeps a bunch of naked Amazons as bodyguards. Rather than fight them, Hawk and Fisher turn a sackful of ravenous sewer rats loose in the crime lord's lair, and the bodyguards start climbing the furniture in a panic when the starving rodents swarm them to bite their bare toes.
  • Everybody Knew Already: This is the book where it's revealed that Hawk and Fisher are Prince Rupert and Princess Julia from Blue Moon Rising. They attempt to hide this fact from the other characters, but at the big denouement at the end, everybody is relieved that they can finally drop the pretense.
  • Evil Chancellor: Duke Alric, ruler of Hillsdown, intends to become this by usurping his daughter's place as regent of the Forest Kingdom and basically merge the two countries while eliminating all his enemies until his grandson Stephen comes of age and takes the throne.
  • Evil Weapon: As before, the Infernal Devices. This book reveals they were created by The Engineer, one of the Transient Beings, who made them from the bones of saints and delighted in perverting symbols of good into objects of evil. Aside from the three featured in Blue Moon Rising, this book reveals there are three more, kept in the Inverted Cathedral — Soulripper, Blackhowl and Belladonna's Kiss.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Subverted when Hawk and Fisher are wreaking havoc on Haven by dispatching pretty much every major criminal they can on their way out. After confronting the crime boss St. Christophe and dealing with his bodyguards, they face Christophe himself and get the upper hand by dropping a chandelier on him. The subversion is that the chandelier itself isn't what kills him — it just traps him long enough for Hawk and Fisher to take his head off.
  • Fusion Dance: It's discovered that the Lady of the Lake, who is all that remains of one of the last Transient Beings, fused with the spirit of Queen Eleanor, Rupert's mother, when she died.
  • Hairstyle Malfunction: During the first chapter, Hawk and Fisher discover that their fellow guard Mistique is bald and hiding it under a wig when a zombie grabs hold of said wig and accidentally pulls it off. Mistique does not appreciate having her baldness exposed and violently takes out her anger on the zombie in retaliation.
  • Hand of Glory: The Seneschal uses one, which was made from the hand of the first Forest King and hence, has the authority to open any door in Forest Castle including those in the Inverted Cathedral.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Fiat lux, a powerful holy spell that generates light and counters evil darkness, even the bell of the inverted cathedral.
  • King in the Mountain: The final fate of King John IV. After he confesses to the murder of his son Harald, his wife Queen Eleanor, whose spirit has now become the Lady of the Lake, comes to judge him and sentences him to sleep in the Land until he is needed once more, in order to redeem himself and the Land.
  • The Magic Goes Away: By combining the powers of the Rainbow and the Source, the world of Reverie is destroyed, and with it the Wild Magic and the Transient Beings, though the magic will take some generations to fully disappear.
  • Meaningful Rename: It's revealed here that Prince Rupert renamed himself Hawk after Robert Hawke, a comrade in arms whom he respected.
  • Offing the Offspring: The final chapter reveals that King John IV is the murderer of his son Harald when Harald refused to change with the times and insisted on remaining an absolute monarch when it was clear that the time for such a role was past.
  • Organ Dodge: At one point, the sorceress Mistique, who's fighting a zombie horde, is attacked from behind by one of their number. It grabs her lush mane of curly black hair... only to find itself holding a wig, which confuses the slow-witted undead long enough for Mistique, now outraged because it had exposed her baldness, to blast it.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Variant in the first chapter. Appleton Hartley left everything to his niece and nephew because he didn't have anyone else to leave them to, but then liquidated as much of his estate as he could and spent it all on wine and women before he died so they'd get nothing except his house (which he proceeded to haunt in an effort to drive them out). They are not amused when they find out.
  • The Scourge of God: Subverted by the Walking Man — contrary to popular belief, he couldn't care less about minor vices. He reserves punishment for real monsters — like a pedophile/child-murderer/necromancer, who gets beaten into a barely recognizable corpse... bare-handed.
  • Settle for Sibling: King Harald, still needing to fulfill the marriage contract he was under with Duke Alric, married Princess Julia's next-youngest sister Felicity after Julia ran off with Prince Rupert.
  • Thanatos Gambit: In the opening section, a ghost reveals that he'd deliberately blown his entire fortune on wine and women in the final weeks of his illness, to the horror of some detested relations who've been tearing his house apart in search of the will. (Except for his nephew, who admires the ploy and only regrets that the deceased hadn't asked him to join in the fun.)
  • Time Skip: Set twelve years after the events of Blue Moon Rising, five years after The Bones of Haven, and two years after the events of Down Among the Dead Men.
  • Uplifted Animal: Chappie, a dog who was experimented on by the High Warlock as a pup and gained human intelligence and the ability to speak as a result. He still has all the same concerns as a normal dog though, and is less worried about things humans would care about.
  • Was Once a Man: It's not revealed until this book that the demonic hordes were originally humans who were warped by the Darkwood.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Duke Alric's wizard, Snare, attempts to overthrow his boss and threatens to kill two-year-old Prince Stephen (the Duke's grandson) in order to force him into compliance. Luckily, he's stopped by the combined actions of Duke Alric and Queen Regent Felicity.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In the Reverie dimension, peoples' thoughts, usually those regarding their appearance, can have an effect on their physical selves or surroundings. In Hawk's case, he unwittingly restores his lost eye, and it stays restored when he returns to the regular world.

    Forest Kingdom #5: Once in a Blue Moon 

Tropes found in Once in a Blue Moon:

  • Time Skip: Set one hundred years after the events of Blue Moon Rising, and eighty-eight years after the events of Beyond the Blue Moon.

Alternative Title(s): Blue Moon Rising, Hawk And Fisher