Reviewed by Andy Venn
Set in one of those indeterminate ages, this novel tells the story of Gorias La Gaul, an ancient warrior and slayer of dragons. On a trip to visit his grandson he comes across a plot to bring Carlato Wyss, a necromancer of dark renown, back to life for the information that he has in his head. He is persuaded to put an end to the cult and stop an ancient book being rewritten. But two forces are converging. An army intent on conquest led by a general with a soul not his own. And a horde of barbarians dead set against them.
Both armies are aiming to get to the foundry of Syn to arm themselves with steel weapons before the other. But the foreman, Mitre Stillwell, has plans of his own.
Gorias manages to persuade the barbarians to help him get into the foundry to end Mitres plans and free the slaves held there. The barbarian children are used to get in through the sewers were they overwhelm the ogre guards with their numbers and their diminutive size. Meanwhile Gorias grandson, masquerading as Gorias himself, leads the adult barbarians against the invaders. Gorias is off to kill the dragon…
There is a lot happening in a short novel. And it is quite short having less than 300 pages. But it is a good story. It has mighty thewed warriors, necromancers, beautiful maidens and dragons. It also has a pretty good plot, but…
Too many bits seem to have been left out. Gorias seems to be quite an interesting character, with a back story and history. But we don’t really get to hear it. The story tends to jump from plot item to plot item, it doesn’t flow, almost as if Steven was in a hurry to get it finished. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it but I would have enjoyed it much more if there was a little more. Gorias is a hero with a dark past, a hero in the mould of Conan or Druss, but the dark past could make him a little more interesting. I would like to see a follow up novel, one that is a little wider in its scope that explains more of the history of Gorias. If it gets written and published I will certainly buy it and read it.
A short review for a short novel. A good read, if a little disappointing. Buy it, read it, look forward to the next one. Hopefully.
About Andy Venn
I’m Andy Venn, aka Giant68 due to being 6’8″ tall. I have been reading science fiction for 35 years since picking up the Lensman series. And fantasy since I pinched “Lost Worlds” by Clarke Ashton Smith from my uncle. I read both in, pretty much, equal measures. I write a blog occasionally, containing the whimsical, or bad tempered, meanderings of my mind at http://giant68.blogspot.com. Go and have a look, you’ll find out all about me, and Lord knows I need the followers! Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.