Flintlock fantasy has always been a risky prospect for me - the vast majority I've read have been sub-standard - but, hallelujah! Don't let the cover fool you, Rebellion of the Black Militia by Richard Nell does not disappoint.
The story centres around Johann Planck, an Apprentice-Scribe whose life involves a lot of scribing and not a whole lot else, until he is sent to capture the demon Sazeal within his flesh to prevent it wreaking havoc. He finds a unique traveling companion in the knight Lamorak, and their friction and interactions are already pretty great right off the bat.
The story is familiar but far from formulaic, the characters archetypes made fresh by Nell's impeccable prose, and the whole thing simple but somehow endearing because of its simplicity rather than despite it.
Perhaps it's because of the world around me seeming so complex and twisted right now, but the lack of politicking and plotting was like a breath of fresh air. I ole up the morning after reading it feeling quite disappointed that I couldn't jump straight back into the world with the characters again. I have no reservations giving this story five stars.