Return of the Warrior (Sleag's Quest, #1) by G.K. Hayes
G.K.Hayes has published short stories in the horror and fantasy fields, and with Return of the Warrior he brings us a short novel, the first installment in a longer quest. It's a good read, especially for those who like the kind of high-adventure-cum-humor that Fritz Leiber used to give us in tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
Gren O'Doone left the Green Isle ages ago, when he was only fifteen, a conscript in an army that fought the wars leading to the establishment of the Three Kingdoms. It's not quite our world, but it has a nodding acquaintance with our reality. Gren's problem as he slips into middle age is that things are now a little boring, now that he's no longer a soldier but an innkeeper. And then one evening a tall stranger wrapped in animal skins comes in for a drink, and he turns out to be Sandovar Sleag, called "the Slayer," in search of local girl Lyndygell and her fatherless son. Only, it seems, a wizard-king is also on the lookout for them....
It's been many years and many pounds since Gren wielded a weapon, but he finds his boredom swept away as Sleag sets out to right a wrong and fight a foe who just may be unbeatable. There's a surface realism that nicely sets off the fantasy elements, but best of all, the characters are so well realized that they take on a life of their own. You can't help identifying with them. Check this one out!