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Publisher's Summary

In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers. A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs the footsteps of Ringil Eskiath - Gil, for short - a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose world-weary cynicism is surpassed only by the quickness of his temper and the speed of his sword. That sword, forged by a vanished eldritch race known as the Kiriath, has brought him unlooked-for notoriety, as has his habit of poking his nose where it doesn't belong.
Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but that doesn't stop his mother from enlisting his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery. Grumbling all the way, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one luckless young woman. Grim sorceries that have not been seen for centuries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of an all-but-legendary race known as the Aldrain, cruel yet beautiful demons feared even by the Kiriath.
Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.
©2009 Richard K. Morgan (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tizroc on 01-23-09

This isn't your father's gay hero!

Richard K. Morgan (The new 'god' of Cyber Punk) jumps the genre to keep himself free from pigeonholes. All Mr. Morgan's books have had extreme feminist leanings and his comics where a feminist steroid of the next generation! This book does not disappoint on those fronts, but if you have issues with Male on Male homosexuality or any homosexuality for that matter than stop now.
Now that everyone with a pre-disposed dislike for a majority of the books interpersonal views has left, Mr. Morgan has written a good, strong book. This is not Cyber Punk, or anything remotely close to the corporate mechanisms of 'Market Forces' of the past. This is a book of swords, horses and wagons, and not in a War Hammer 40,000 version either. The book is well written, as can be expected of any Morgan book, and his character inter-play has lost none of its wit. Strong story, good characters and a lengthy listen. A good book that missed a five star for some over the top gay sexual verbiage that seemed to be there only to antagonize the intolerant and not to strengthen the story.
Even so this is not your average medieval dandy prancing the countryside. He is a strong male character who cleaves Demons, and annoying toadies. The character isn't a perfect specimen of human gayiety to spite the intolerant either. He is flawed, (as with EVERY RKM novel) with horrible family relations, misses what he sees as a simpler time who has been out of favor and action just long enough to not know the right people, who has the power, and seems to be complaining about a small widening of the midsection. Him and his sword still kick some butt. A well rounded book, and many thanks to Mr. Morgan for his hard work. The narrator's voice lends a gruff voice to polish off the strong male character Mr. Morgan has written.

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60 of 71 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jennifer on 01-31-09

Another strong effort by Morgan

I have read many books by this author and this is up to the usual high quality. Most important, the writing is good. Scifi/fantasy books often have interesting story ideas but the writing and language can range from mediocre to truly awful. Morgans stories are quite original [this one perhaps a little less than others], and writing is so consistently good the stories really come alive. This includes the plotting and especially the language.
As far as the sexual content goes, realistically, it was no more prominent in this story than in any other Morgan novels meaning that there is some and it is consistent in tone with the rest of the book.
And yes there is gay as well as straight sexuality depicted - you know- just like in real life! In Morgans other books as well as this one, we get plenty of scenes of straight sex graphically and imaginatively delivered, and dont forget one of the main plot lines of this story involves the legalized trade in female sex slaves! That seems to cause no alarm. But when male/male sexual interaction occurs suddenly it is over the top as another reviewer wrote-come on! [BTW one of the other important characters is a Lesbian, but that is not pointed out possibly b/c we dont have to endure any sex scenes with her.]
The protagonists sexuality is a natural, normal part of his life and is depicted as such. We see how he is hassled by ignorant bigots and betrayed by his own family over it [just like in real life too!] And we also get to see when he finds some pleasure and companionship. To handle it any other way would be stilted and weird. Thank you Richard Morgan! This will be refreshing especially for gay people but also any straight people who want to imagine a world where gays exist and are even sometimes the heroes and heroines [just like real life!]

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29 of 36 people found this review helpful

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