The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard

This review was originally posted on my personal blog, BarbarianBookClub. I am a proponent of the idea that Grimdark is a direct descendent of 1930 style Sword & Sorcery.  Robert E. Howard is the master of 1930s pulp action. One of my favorite writers. It was Conan that got me into Fantasy, and it was…

The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney

Blurb: Tough, gritty fantasy to compete with George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and David Gemmell. By a critically acclaimed and highly praised author. The start of a brand new epic series. Retelling of the classic Greek history from Xenophon. Supported by targeted marketing, including ARCs, advertising in the genre press and online support. On the world…

Dead Man’s Steel by Luke Scull

At last, I have completed the Grim Company trilogy. What a journey it has been. When I first read The Grim Company, the first novel in the series, I enjoyed it despite the distracting similarities between the novel and one of my favorite series, The Black Company, and some of the minor other issues. Yet,…

Pieces of Hate by Tim Lebbon

Pieces of Hate collects two novelettes about a man named Gabriel. Gabriel’s family was murdered by a demonic creature named Temple. When Gabriel encounters a snake eyed man who offers him the chance at a life long enough to kill the creature and avenge his family, Gabriel greedily accepts, unaware of the challenges the curse will…

Grimdark Magazine(Issue #4)

We continue our ongoing review retrospective of Grimdark Magazine with Issue #4 published in the summer of 2015. Like previous issues, this one has four short stories, two novel excerpts, two interviews, one book review, and one short article.  The standout non-fiction piece is the article by John R. Fultz. Its main thesis is that…

Grimdark Magazine (Issue #3)

I’m a big fan of short fiction. I enjoy reading short stories on my lunch break.  Short stories make perfect reading material when I have a few minutes to spare but not enough time to really get immersed in a novel. So I was exceptionally happy when I came across the first issue of Grimdark Magazine. Finally,…

The Battle of the Round by Peter Orullian

The Battle of the Round is a short story set in Peter Orullian’s Vault of Heaven universe. I stumbled upon this story without any prior knowledge or familiarity with Orullian’s work so I will be reviewing this story plainly for what it was and not how it connects with the series. This is the tale of…

Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher

Reviewers who said Beyond Redemption is the grimdarkest of grimdark haven’t been exaggerating. Don’t let the irrelevant cover fool you: Beyond Redemption has nothing to do with cowboys or Western settings. It is the epitome of grimdark, featuring an incredibly original magic system and a pre-modern setting. Beyond Redemption is extremely dark and gritty, but…

The Black Company by Glen Cook

This review was originally posted on Booknest.eu. The Black Company by Glen Cook is the tale of the elite mercenary company’s trials during its contracted service with The Lady, a powerful sorceress and empress. The tale is conveyed in first person through the eyes of Croaker, a medic and higher up within the ranks of…

Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

If you like sword and sorcery similar to Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion sequence, then you might consider giving Marie Brennan’s Cold-Forged Flame a shot. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this short novella. Cold-Forged Flame on the surface was marketed as an epic fantasy offering, which had me a little confused considering the story…

The God in the Bowl by Robert E. Howard

The second written work of Conan the Barbarian takes a big step in a different direction. Instead of the problems of the story coming to a resolution at the point of Conan’s sword, the tale was more of a crime scene drama. The tale begins with a guard on patrol outside a temple. When he…

Grimdark Magazine (Issue #2)

The second issue of Grimdark Magazine features some stellar short fiction, reviews and compelling interviews. My favorite pieces of short fiction were The Knife of Many Hands by R. Scott Bakker and The Line by T.R. Napper. The Knife of Many Hands is a Second Apocalypse story set in Carythusal, the stronghold of the feared…