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James Enge

James Enge
James Enge is an instructor of classical languages at a Midwestern university. Here’s his website.

Morlock Ambrosius

Morlock Ambrosius — (2009-2010) Publisher: Behind the King’s life stands the menacing Protector, and beyond him lies the Protector’s Shadow… Centuries after the death of Uthar the Great, the throne of the Ontilian Empire lies vacant. The late Emperor’s brother-in-law and murderer, Lord Urdhven, appoints himself Protector to his nephew, young King Lathmar VII and sets out to kill anyone who stands between himself and mastery of the Empire, including (if he can manage it) the King himself and his ancient but still formidable ancestress, Ambrosia Viviana. When Ambrosia is accused of witchcraft and put to trial by combat, she is forced to play her trump card and call on her brother, Morlock Ambrosius — stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk. As ministers of the king, they carry on the battle, magical and mundane, against the Protector and his shadowy patron. But all their struggles will be wasted unless the young king finds the strength to rule in his own right and his own name.

Trilogy:                                                                                                       Related novella:
fantasy book reviews James Enge Morlock Ambrosius 1. Blood of Ambrose 2. This Crooked Wayfantasy book reviews James Enge Morlock Ambrosius 1. Blood of Ambrose 2. This Crooked Way 3. The Wolf Agefantasy book reviews James Enge Morlock Ambrosius 1. Blood of Ambrose 2. This Crooked Way 3. The Wolf Age            fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Blood of Ambrose: Seamlessly blends epic fantasy and sword & sorcery

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Blood of Ambrose by James Enge

"The King was screaming in the throne room when the Protector's Men arrived" — and with good reason. The King, Lathmar, is about twelve years old when his "Protector," Urdhven, decides to seize the throne. Urdhven captures Lathmar and his many-times-great-grandmother, Ambrosia Viviana (a daughter of Merlin — apparently the Merlin of Arthurian legend — who's therefore exceptionally long-lived), but not before they send word to Ambrosia's brother, the infamous Morlock Ambrosius. Together, Lathmar, Ambrosia, Morlock, and Morlock's dwarven apprentice plot and battle to preserve Lathmar's rule, not only against the Protector, but also the sorcerer behind the Protector, a shadowy figure whose horrific plans reach beyond the realms' government and into the soul of every citizen.

Blood of Ambrose, James Enge's debut novel, seaml... Read More

This Crooked Way: A clever, witty, darkly whimsical series

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This Crooked Way by James Enge

Already an exile, Morlock Ambrosius is now also officially an outlaw in This Crooked Way. Winter finds him wandering when his horse, Velox, is stolen. Previous adventures have earned Morlock’s loyalty to the mystical steed and it’s apparent that the horse theft is a tactic to lure Morlock into a series of traps orchestrated by an enemy from his past. So into the dangerous pass called the Kirack Kund — dwarvish for "The River of Skulls" — The Crooked Man goes. This quest will end up lasting several years in which Morlock encounters golems, monsters, rival sorcerers, insectoid tribes, thieves, street gangs, and dragons, and even sort of adopts (or perhaps is adopted by) a misfit family.

This is the second novel Mr. Enge has written about his intriguing character. He has also written short stories about Morloc... Read More

The Wolf Age: Loyalty in a harsh world

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The Wolf Age by James Enge

One of the challenges of having read a fair amount of fantasy is that I find myself comparing the novels I’ve read. I look for similarities between books, characters and storylines. James Enge's The Wolf Age is built around the anti-hero who rebels against the existing order, a well used archetype. Fortunately, Enge still manages to put his story together in such a way that makes for a compelling read.

Morlock Ambrosius is a stranger traveling through lands that are being raided and pillaged by a nation of werewolves. Morlock’s combination of martial prowess and magical skills allow for accomplishments that would be otherwise impossible, and he serves as a catalyst for change. Morlock tries to stay out of trouble, but is swept up by a band of raiding werewolves that throw him in prison. They plan to either have him... Read More

Travelers’ Rest: He came, he saw…

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Travelers’ Rest by James Enge

Travelers’ Rest is short and sweet. (Much like myself except the sweetness of Travelers’ Rest is Morlock Ambrose’s dispersion of justice, and the sweetness of me is, well I’m just freakin’ adorable). Also, Travelers’ Rest is a free e-book from Pyr  in honor of The Wolf Age, the latest MORLOCK AMBROSE novel, being their 100th book. Just in time for Christmas too. So a sincere thank you to Pyr is in order. They are already my favorite publisher, so they really didn’t have to, but it’s nice they did. (Click Read More

A Tournament of Shadows

A Tournament of Shadows — (2012-2014) Publisher: It’s dwarves versus dragons in this origin story for Enge’s signature character, Morlock Ambrosius! Before history began, the dwarves of Thrymhaiam fought against the dragons as the Longest War raged in the deep roads beneath the Northhold. Now the dragons have returned, allied with the dead kings of Cor and backed by the masked gods of Fate and Chaos. The dwarves are cut off from the Graith of Guardians in the south. Their defenders are taken prisoner or corrupted by dragonspells. The weight of guarding the Northhold now rests on the crooked shoulders of a traitor’s son, Morlock syr Theorn (also called Ambrosius). But his wounded mind has learned a dark secret in the hidden ways under the mountains. Regin and Fafnir were brothers, and the Longest War can never be over…

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

A Guile of Dragons: A good beginning

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A Guile of Dragons by James Enge

I just finished James Enge’s epic fantasy A Guile of Dragons, the first book in the TOURNAMENT OF SHADOWS series. This was an enjoyable read. Enge plays with traditional tropes, dragons, dwarves, wizards and heroes, but he puts a refreshing spin on the classic images. There may be dragons and unicorns (yes, there is a unicorn) but they’re not exactly what you’re used to.

In the land of Laent, Morlock syr Theorn was raised by the dwarves, but his biological father is Merlin Ambrosius. Merlin was exiled from Laent, along with Morlock’s mother, by the Guardians, the magical protectors of this land. Morlock is a talented Maker or magician but he hates that his power comes from Ambrosius. He wants to repudiate his heritage, which includes an immunity to fire. Morlock was brought up by Tyr, the... Read More

Magazine Monday: Black Gate

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Black Gate has been published irregularly (sometimes only once a year) since 2000, but I’ve only just discovered it. And what a time to do so! The Winter 2010 edition, Number 14, is 385 pages long, the size of a hefty book. The price reflects that; few magazines will run you $15.95 in the print edition ($8.95 for a PDF version that doesn’t translate well to Kindle). But then, few magazines will give you as much great fantasy as this one, including first stories by four promising new authors.

There are a very great many stories in this issue – 16 short stories and three novellas. Four of the offerings are first publications by their authors. More than a few of the pieces are exceptional, real standouts in a day when fantasy stories are as numerous as stars. Many of the stories are competent but unoriginal; reading one after the other makes one weary of noble... Read More

The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

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The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure

I read and have read a lot of anthologies. They’re great for “in-between-books-reading” and are perfect when you just want a story that you can start and finish in one sitting. Anthologies are also a great source for sampling different writers.


Jason M Waltz did a great job of picking out the stories to use for The Return of the Sword. Except for only one or two stories (even the ones that weren’t particularly something to my personal taste) I found these to be very well and interestingly written.

The Return of the Sword contains twenty sword-and-sorcery tales — too many for me to summarize and rate individually here. I’d say most of the stories fall between 3 and 4 stars, but my personal favorites — "The Battle of Raven Kill" by Jeff Draper, "To Be... Read More

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Read More