Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards
Jeff Salyards’ BLOODSOUNDER’s ARC is a fantasy series in the gritty vein: harsh and bloody, though with a bit of humor mixed in. Veil of the Deserters, its second installment, is an interesting blend of political maneuvering and realistic tactical combat in the era of swords and crossbows.
Arki is the historian/scribe for the company of Captain Braylar Killcoin from the Syldoonian Empire. Momentous events have happened in the previous book as CPT Killcoin and his soldiers continue their mission to create chaos in the city of Alespell. For Arki, it’s a culture clash; his background as a highly educated archivist gives him a very different perspective on life and death than the members of the Jackal Tower who employ him. Arki must learn that mercy and justice often have no place in the murky, violent world in which he now lives.
Salyards’ world-building is... Read More
John HuletOn FanLit’s staff since June 2007
JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. He began reading fantasy in the 4th grade when his reading teacher ran out of things to keep him occupied and suggested he try The Chronicles of Prydain. From such humble beginnings are addictions born.
John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. He enjoys books that challenge the mind and ensnare the heart. An interesting story is not enough to make up for shallow characters. Gimli Gloinson, Flint Fireforge, Tasselhoff Burrfoot, Prince Kheldar(Silk) and the totally debauched Dakar the Mad Prophet are all brilliant examples of the combination of humor, loyalty and courage that makes characters live. John particularly loves epic fantasy’s use of the concept of honor which is often considered outmoded and naïve by modern society. He loves to escape into a world where good people do good things for the right reasons and believe that duty can truly be its own reward.
John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of.
Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
War is hell. That is true on many different levels, and each individual copes with it differently. Brian McClellan’s The Crimson Campaign is a journey into hell from four perspectives — each character’s hell no less terrible than the others’.
Tamas is the acknowledged tyrant, military leader,and instigator of the overthrow on the Kingdom of Andro when his group of crack powder-mages killed the King and his royal cabal of Privileged (extremely powerful users of magic). Tamas has been through hell, fighting war after war until finally the murder/execution of his wife leaves him with just one goal left: revenge. Fighting the armies of Kez is something he knows well, but losing battles to them is not. When a bold, risky maneuver fails and leaves him trapped with an elite but relatively small group of soldiers behind enemy lines, Tamas has to find a way to save them. Watching... Read More
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson-Hauptman’s evolution from grease-monkey rebel to wife of the Alpha of the local werewolf pack has been a slow process. At her core she remains the caring, hard-working, selfless woman we always liked, but life has a way of throwing her curve balls. So, when her husband’s ex-wife/mother of his only child comes running to the pack for help, Mercy has to find a way to cope.
Mercy’s husband, Adam, is truly a knight in shining armor. When someone he is connected to needs help, it’s not in his character to resist. He takes care of those he cares about, even when it’s not easy. Christy, Adam’s ex, is everything that Mercy is not. She is gentle-spoken, domestic, a great cook and really, really pretty. Well, Mercy is pretty too, but she doesn’t put the same kind of effort into it that Christy does. Mercy is also hon... Read More
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell
Traitor’s Blade is the first installment in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series and is an interesting blend of genres — like The Three Musketeers with classic fantasy. At the core it is about a young man whose heart is broken and who has found meaning in defending ideals that are greater than himself.
An oft-used, but nonetheless compelling storyline in fantasy is the abuse of power by the nobility. Whether it’s something as simple as overtaxing and overworking the lower classes or some of the more heinous examples where the Nobles rape, murder and torture with seeming impunity, the concept remains that power unchecked corrupts. Falcio Val Mond has had his fill of exactly this sort of thing. As a young husband his experiences have riven his soul and created in him a desire for justice that drives him beyond his own strengths and forged him into something... Read More
Ever After by Kim Harrison
Rachel Morgan has been through a lot since she left the IS and went private. She’s lost love, found love, been betrayed over and over again, made friends with demons, found out that she’s a demon and now she has to save her friends from the clutches of the demons one more time. It’s nothing she hasn’t done before, except that this time she faces a demon that all the rest of them are afraid of which is truly ironic since he is their creation.
The exact biological issues that are all tied up with being a witch or a demon and the genetic disease known as rosewood syndrome are the major theme of Rachel’s childhood. She should have died just like all the other babies with rosewood. The bio engineering and the cure that were developed at the behest of Trent Kalamack’s father are still illegal according to modern law. So, when babies who are destined to die from rosewood’s begin to survive and then are stolen... Read More
Blade Reforged by Kelly McCullough
Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series has been a lot of fun to read. For fans of cloak and dagger fantasy, it’s been a welcome, easy to read morsel. You really don’t need to pay close attention because the story is about humor, a little danger, long lost romance and loyalty to ideals that have been lost. It’s not complex, but it’s good.
Blade Reforged follows Aral Kingslayer through his final transformation back from dissolute, amoral thug-for-hire to someone who at least resembles the rising star of the Order of Namara before her death at the hands of the Son of Heaven. His reformation, as the events of the past books have chronicled, has been very gradual. From relative indifference to the world around him, to caring about a former Novice from his Order, to defeating a former mentor and Master of his Order because he has gone over to the enemy, Aral has become a bet... Read More
American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle
Tom Doyle is a very creative author and his blending of historical fiction and urban fantasy is a really nice combination. American Craftsmen is an exciting blend of two genres that kept me interested and excited for more.
The idea of magic having existed throughout history, just never openly exposed is a well used plotline, but Doyle is able to explain it in a new, interesting way that does not feel stale or repetitive. In American Craftsmen we are shown a picture of the United States and how the pilgrims and other immigrants carried their magical talents into the new world and how they became incorporated into the governance and defense of the nation. The gritty, sometimes dark aspects of how these elite, talented operatives are employed and the truly catastrophic consequen... Read More
The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke
The Lascar’s Dagger is an interesting blend of political intrigue, religious debate and illustrations of how stereotyping is seldom a good idea. Glenda Larke writes at a fairly easy to consume level, neither demanding that the reader track complex plot elements nor boring the reader with nothing interesting to say. For the first book in a new series, it’s not bad, but I’m not dying to read the next book in the series either.
Saker is a rogue. By the classic definition, he lies, he cheats, he seduces women and he is a spy for a powerful religious order. He is also incredibly naive, almost to the point that I was left wondering how he had survived as long as he has doing the job he does. Maybe it’s his incredi... Read More
Marked by Alex Hughes
For a couple more days you can still enter to win a copy of Clean or Sharp, the first two MINDSPACE INVESTIGATION novels.
My friendship with Adam has covered three novels now. Alex Hughes has taken me into a different future of the world I live in and made it very real for me, but the best part is that I’ve befriended a hero who I completely understand and admire. That’s right, I admire Adam the drug addict.
In Marked, the third book in Hughes’ MINDSPACE INVESTIG... Read More
Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole
If you take the time to look and consider, there are often important lessons you can learn from novels. Sometimes characters exhibit traits and growth that we, ourselves, would do well to emulate. Shadow Ops: Breach Zone contains some of those lessons and role models.
Good people do bad things. We call them mistakes. The hard part about being in a position of real responsibility is that the second and third order effects can greatly exceed even our most jaded expectations. For LTC Jan Thorsson, call-sign Harlequin, those effects manifested themselves when his former lover and the most dangerous woman in the world manages to rip a hole between the Source and downtown New York City to release a flood of goblins and other enemies of humanity.
As a result of having done the right, if not politically expedien... Read More
Iron Night by M.L. Brennan
I really like it when an author can keep a character from growing stagnant. It’s not always obvious that it’s happening, but it’s very impressive when the author has enough vision to avoid it. In Iron Night, the second book in the GENERATION V series by M.L. Brennan, Fortitude Scott is a wonderful example of a main character that keeps growing.
Fortitude Scott has not given up on remaining as human as he can for as long as he can. After the drama and partial transformation that took place as a result of his heroic efforts to save innocent children from a terrible monster, it’s harder to do than ever before. After losing his job, getting a new room-mate and breaking up with his cheating manipulative girlfriend, the sky is the limit.
Fort is being expected to take a more active role in his mo... Read More
Generation V by M.L. Brennan
Adolescent vampire novels are a dime a dozen and most of them revolve around a teenage girl with a love interest who happens to be a not-so evil, impossibly sexy vampire. It’s the kind of boring cliché that drives the male segment of the populace away from urban fantasy. There are exceptions to the rule and these stories can be not only fun to read, but also refreshing because they don’t follow the expected paths.
If you worked at a coffee shop, drove a terrible car, had a girlfriend who was unceasingly unkind and a room-mate who didn’t pay his half of the rent you would be Fortitude Scott. Being broke and working for an awful boss is tough, but lots of people have to deal with that. It’s the other side of Fort’s life that makes it especially rough. As the child of a vampire, Fortitude will eventually become a vampire, but he is fighting the process. The price ... Read More
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Epic fantasy has been heavily stocked over the years with some powerhouse writers — Jordan, Erikson, Wurts, Rothfuss and Martin have been the standard bearers of this genre of fantasy. It’s a pretty challenging genre to break into, but after reading the first book of the CHRONICLE OF THE UNHEWN THRONE, The Emperor’s Blades, I am reminded that there is always room for someone new.
In epic fantasy, great empires are never allowed to simply exist in peace. It’s almost ine... Read More
Rex Regis by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Regis Regis is the eighth book of the IMAGER PORTFOLIO and the fifth book following Quaeryt. After literally years of hard work, war, and nothing less than miraculous events, the curtain begins to close on this part of Solidar's history.
The fall of Antiago had been particularly painful for Quaeryt because of the loss of his child when his wife was injured. The reality of the constant threat of power-hungry competitors to influence the future of the continent of Lydar leaves Quaeryt with very little time to heal or mourn. In spite of his incredible success, Quaeryt knows that he must race back to report to Bhayar, now ruler of almost all of Lydar.
As in the previous four books, Quaeryt spends a great deal of time interacting with recalcitrant High Holders. These men enjoyed great power under the previous ruler of Bovaria, but are now very slow to adapt ... Read More
Bared Blade by Kelly McCullough
Bared Blade is the second book in the FALLEN BLADE series. Kelly McCullough continues the story of Aral Kingslayer, survivor of the destruction of the Goddess Namara turned petty thief and spy.
Aral is still struggling with the revelation that other members of his cult survived the fall of his goddess. His experiences in Broken Blade have started to give him an inkling that there may be more to look forward to than alcoholic oblivion. The relationship between Aral and his familiar/partner Triss has been an interesting twist on typical sword and sorcery tropes.
When a couple of oddly matched women are suddenly attacked in front of Aral, he chooses to get involved. The women have powers and skills far beyond the ordinary, which changes everything immediately. As further evidence of Aral’s re-orientation away from self-destruction via Kyle’s whiskey, Ara... Read More