This is the 2nd installment in the Eddie LaCrosse series. I am still confused why it is cataloged as Science Fiction instead of a Mystery. The dead body appears by page 17.
Eddie is a medieval sword-jockey; the equivalent of today's private-eye/gun-for-hire/bodyguard. He is of royal blood and as learned in the 1st novel, gave up his privileged life when the Prince's sister, while under Eddie's protection is brutally killed. The years that followed were dark for Eddie. He joined the army and later became a ruthless mercenary.
Midlife has mellowed the big brute. He lives with a young, independent twin, Liz, who runs a 1-wagon UPS business. He has mellowed so much that Eddie evens befriends a horse and mourns his loss when he, the horse and a near-naked blond are attacked on a forest road and left for the vultures. A new fire is lit in Eddie.
Fire is one of the reasons that Eddie was attacked. He stumbled upon a damsel who had information that a cult of fire-eating-dragon-freaks coveted. Eddie vows to find the mysterious blonde's killers and get some justice for the slaughter of his horse, Lola.
Alex Bledsoe knows how to hook his readers. The day I checked out this book I also got new novels by Stephen King, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Andrew Vachss, and a couple of others. I read some chapters from each book and chose this one to finish. I like authors who don't take themselves too serious. Try reading the book jacket and Bledsoe's bio tells that he once lived near Elvis and Tina Turner: two things that must be important in order to become a serious, successful writer.