I remember reading a fantasy novel back in the early 2000s (definitely adult fantasy). I was probably far too young to read it and understand everything, hence me wanting to revisit it. I can't for the life of me remember the name or the author but I do remember some of the details.
- Medieval fantasy
- There was a elven realm, the 'king' there frequently battled
either evil forces or other elves (I remember something about him blowing a horn to summon his soldiers)
- There was another human realm (most of the story took place here)
Plot & Characters
The first character you encounter is a young boy who lives in one of the kingdoms/cities. His family has ferrets for some reason(I think they were rat catchers?). The story then follows him to a different city/kingdom (he joins a party of... adventurers?)
One of the other characters is an older female protagonist that had some relation/knowledge of the aforementioned elven king.
Another younger female protagonist (either a princess or some other kind of nobility)
A band of dwarves, one particular one was challenged to a duel because he called one noble (and this one I remember quite clearly):
"a cantankerous/cancerous sore on a mule's c#nt"
When this was revealed during a trial the younger female protagonist burst out laughing.
I think the book was quite explicit when it came to describing the violence (thinking back I'm reminded of Gemmell / Martin).
I think the book cover had a picture of a red dragon hovering above a city.
So pretty much the only details that are very clear in my head is the ferret-boy, the foul mouthed dwarf that got challenged to trial by combat (someone fought for him). There was definitely some kind of magic but I can't remember the exact mechanics.