Saturday, March 27, 2021

 Are You In the Mood For. . .

If so, here's my review:

A Little Hatred

In A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie, we take a trip back to the Angland we first met twenty to thirty years ago in the First Law Trilogy: The Blade Itself; Before They Are Hanged; Last Argument of Kings. Though, as you will find out, things have changed.

This is what you can expect:


The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal's son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta - socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union - plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another . . .


As you will note from the blurb, some of the characters we first met in the previous adventure are still here, so it certainly helps with the continuity. As does the introduction of their offspring. So even though we’re looking at a gap of several decades, we can get right back into the feel of the story ark as if slipping on a familiar pair of old gloves.

And familiar it is. The Union still struggles to maintain stability in a land where potential invasion is an ever-present threat. This time, from the North, where new leaders want to test themselves against oppressors of old. Additionally, conquered enemies test the limits of Angland’s patience by sending a never-ending flow of refugees into Union territory. And as the population rises and the wheels of industry put increasing numbers of laborers and farm workers out of work, tensions spiral out of control. Revolution threatens!

How do the powers-that-be handle it?

Joe Abercrombie style! That’s how.

It was great fun revisiting Adua, as Abercrombie expanded on the history of his creation to give us an engaging new set of circumstances to enjoy. And as so often happens in the real world, so much trouble on a grand scale can be fomented by the smallest amount of misunderstanding, and just a little hatred.

An apt title, therefore, to a story that is as rich with emotion and cutting-edge commentary as it is as sparing with mercy. It’s brutal, in-your-face fun, and wonderfully entertaining. I’d love to reveal more, but never spoil things with untimely reveals.

Content to say, Abercrombie weaves a complex set of circumstances and a grand cast of characters together with skillful dexterity and considerable panache. You’d be a fool to miss it, and I, for one, can’t wait for the series to continue.

Monday, March 22, 2021

 Heroes in Hell

For those of you who have might not be familiar with the Heroes in Hell universe, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:


Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy/horror, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include both Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.


Janet resurrected the series through her own publishing company – The Perseid Press – in 2011 with Lawyers in Hell, and the universe has continued to expand with six anthologies and four novels since then:




As you can see from this quick glimpse, there’s a wealth of dark and despicable delights to delve into. And what a choice! Bent lawyers; devious rogues; hopeless dreamers; cursed poets; censured doctors; dastardly pirates, and hapless lovers.

But why so many?

Ah, that’s what you have to understand about hell, it’s an ever expanding smorgasbord of shameful deviants with all sorts of perverted desires that ends up dooming them to eternal suffering.

Here’s a little equation I like to use to explain why Heroes in Hell keeps getting bigger and better.

dS >> 0ᵑ

Now, some of you might recognize this equation, as it’s the satanized version of the second law of thermodynamics. Or, as its better known in the underverse, the Law of Infernodynamics.
Let's break it down a little:
Let's break it down a little:
Basically, the sum of each condemned soul’s damnation, (d),
Combined with (S), Satan’s all-pervading unholy will,
Is vastly greater, (
Combined with (S), Satan’s all-pervading unholy will,
Is vastly greater, (>>) than anyone’s chance of escaping or being happy again, aptly represented by, (0ᵑ), that’s zero to the nth degree!


So, what’s in store for those who end up in one of the many levels of hell?

Ah, for that I’d encourage you to stop by, either at The Perseid Press


 Or at your favorite online book retailer to find out more.


And if you’re unsure as to where might be a good place to start, why not pick a theme that appeals. After all, there are plenty topics to choose from, and the choice is only going to get bigger.

Stay tuned, you’ll find out what I mean in the next post.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

 My Review of. . .
Demon in White

Demon in White

I’ve been itching to get to Demon in White, the third installment of the Sun Eater Sequence, as it’s been a journey of discovery, following along as Hadrian Marlowe, the young man who wanted nothing more than to travel the stars in search of knowledge and peace becomes the tyrant the galaxy needs.

Here’s a hint of what’s in store from the cover blurb:


Hadrian and his Red Company have been serving the Empire in military engagements against the Cielcin, the vicious alien civilization bent on humanity's destruction. And they've been successful: a cult-like fervor building around Hadrian following a particularly impressive victory. But popularity comes at a price: an assassination attempt, triggered by those within the Imperial government who are scared of his rise to prominence.

Now the Empire has turned dangerous, Hadrian and his crew leave to pursue his true interest: a search for a long-rumored connection between the first Emperor and the Quiet: the ancient, seemingly long-dead race. And he will find the next key to unlocking their secrets in a massive library on a distant world.

The coordinates for their origin planet.

A planet that no longer holds life, but may still contain answers.


Now the scene is set, what did I think?

Awesome! Absolutely awesome.

And it has to be at close to 750 pages long. But this is the thing. Although Demon in White covers the sweeping vista of a number of planets spread throughout the immense expanse of a galactic empire, it doesn’t lose the personal touch. The story keeps its center by concentrating on Hadrian Marlowe’s transition from hero to legend. And from legend to virtual godhood in the eyes of the people that follow him.

And therein lies the rub.

If there’s one thing you need to understand about heroes, it’s that there’s no room for them in the Empire. For heroes build a reputation of invincibility, and such reputations attract the worst kind of sedition: Followers. Zealots who believe more in the object of their fervor than Caesar himself. And the Emperor mustn’t be challenged, for he is jealous of his rule and the Chantry are ever willing and able to make an example of those who fail to tow the party line.

Yes, Hadrian Marlowe learns to his cost the consequences of victory.

His rank, his success, his devotion – to duty and uncovering the truth about ancient beings both vast and incomprehensible – has ramifications he couldn’t possibly have imagined. And not only does he end up fighting against an evil from beyond the veil of time; not only must he contend against the worst and most powerful of the Cielcin overlords, but he must fend off multiple death threats from members of the royal family, the government and the Chantry, all of who want to see him dead.

As I noted at the outset, this is an awesomely epic extravaganza of far future science fiction. The pace is well judged throughout; the battle scenes precise, bloody and brutal; the gradual reveal of just what it is behind the events taking place, mind bogglingly spectacular; and the story arc, superb.

And THAT’s what I’ve really enjoyed about this series. As I mentioned in my review of Empire of Silence and Howling Dark, this far-fling operatic production carries all the scope of Frank Herbert’s, Dune; The scale of Arthur C. Clarkes, 2001: A Space Odyssey; and the poignancy of Barry B. Longyear’s, Enemy Mine. It’s huge. Yet Christopher Rucchio has managed to avoid wasting time with ‘filler material.’ Everything you read is relevant, and one of the best metaphysical journeys you will ever take in the discovery of the past, present and future of the human race.

Do yourself a favor, and enlist in the Red Company!