|Sixty-One Nails is Mike Shevdons debut
novel, and a jolly fine opening work. If I was looking for a genre in which to place Sixty-One
Nails I would opt for urban fantasy, though I am not sure if that is the
The story concerns a middle class, middle-aged male divorcee who,
through a near death experience, discovers that the world of the fey (fairies, trolls,
wraiths and worse) exists and that he is part fey himself. Stated this baldly Sixty-One
Nails stood a good chance of being a very humdrum story indeed, "Hey,
Im part fey. Look at all the fancy things I can do. See all the nasties I can
elude." To his considerable credit Mr Shevdon has put a lot of effort in building a
creditable story, with believable characters and then woven in two of those anachronistic
ceremonies that common law Britain has by the droves to make something well worth reading.
At times he has even escaped the common tropes of the genre and created something new, for
example two fey trying to source cold iron (inimical to the fey) for a ceremony on which
their continued safety depends, to which I doff my hat.
I found the book a real page turner and was very pleased to see that the author has
already started on a sequel. If I was to compare Sixty-One Nails to other
books it would be to China Mievilles King Rat and Paul
Kearneys Riding the Unicorn, both books I enjoyed and which
left me wanting to read more of the author in question and that is high praise for
fantasy from me.