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Black Gate Online Fiction: Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk

Sunday, February 9th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Blood and Iron Jon Sprunk-smallBlack Gate is very pleased to offer our readers an exclusive excerpt from Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk — a new novel of heroic fantasy that reads like a sword-and-sorcery version of Spartacus.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

Jon Sprunk is the author of the Shadow Saga (Shadow’s Son, Shadow’s Lure, and Shadow’s Master) and a mentor at the Seton Hill University fiction writing program. He is a regular blogger for Black Gate.

Win one of two Advance Reading Copies of Blood and Iron! Just send an e-mail to with the subject “Blood and Iron,” and we’ll enter you in the drawing. Entries must be received by Friday, February 28, 2014. No purchase necessary. Terms and conditions subject to change. Not valid where prohibited by law.

The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Tara Cardinal and Alex Bledsoe, E.E. Knight, Vaughn Heppner,  Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.

Blood and Iron, Book One of The Book of the Black Earth, will be published by Pyr Books on March 11, 2014. It is 445 pages and will be available in trade paperback for $18.00 ($11.00 for the digital version). Learn more at Pyr Books.

Read a complete sample chapter of Blood and Iron here.


  1. The ARC of this one is sitting in the TBR (that’s To Be Reviewed) pile. There are a couple of titles I have to review first (earlier release dates), but I’m really looking forward to reading this.

    Comment by westkeith - February 10, 2014 11:46 am

  2. Does that mean Keith has dibs on reviewing this book? Ah, well, can’t win ’em all. Looks delicious, though.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - February 10, 2014 11:07 pm

  3. Actually, Sarah, I was planning on reviewing it on my blog. If you and John work out an arrangement for reviewing the book here, I think that would be great. In fact, even though it’s really none of my business who John selects to review the book at Black Gate, I offer my support in your bid to write the review. For what it’s worth. :)

    Comment by westkeith - February 11, 2014 12:48 pm

  4. Well, that makes it easy. So much for my plans to make the reviewer selection by gladiatorial combat.

    Sarah — if you want my copy of the ARC for review, it’s all yours.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 11, 2014 12:53 pm

  5. John, I fail to see why we can’t still have gladiatorial combat, just as a matter of principle, of course.

    Comment by westkeith - February 11, 2014 5:22 pm

  6. Keith,

    If I were you, I’d hold off pressing for the arena until you’ve seen Sarah’s skills with the javelin. Just sayin’.

    Comment by John ONeill - February 11, 2014 5:30 pm

  7. I didn’t say _I_ wanted to take part in gladiatorial combat, just wondered why we couldn’t have some. :)

    Comment by westkeith - February 11, 2014 9:36 pm

  8. My dubious glory days as the Worst Varsity Fencer at Vassar were a long time ago. I think my only chance of surviving gladiatorial combat now would require a swift early strike with a tranquilizer dart, unless…

    I could try to name M. Harold Page as my champion. Do we have any other regulars who’d still be game?

    But seriously, yes, I want that ARC!

    Comment by Sarah Avery - February 13, 2014 11:11 pm

  9. […] Last month we announced a contest to win one of two advance reading copies of Jon Sprunk’s highly anticipated fantasy epic Blood and Iron, compliments of Pyr Books. What’s that? You don’t recall the announcement? Strange — it was in the third paragraph of the post on our exclusive fiction excerpt of Blood and Iron, which we debuted right here. […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Announcing the Winners of Advance Reading Copies of Jon Sprunk’s Blood and Iron - March 1, 2014 6:59 pm

  10. […] book in his new series The Book of the Black Earth, finally goes on sale today. We gave you the scoop on the book last month; last week Jon peeled back the curtain on the book’s origins in a […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Jon Sprunk’s Blood and Iron, Volume One of The Book of the Black Earth, on Sale Today - March 11, 2014 12:28 am

  11. […] excerpt from Blood and Iron, by Jon […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » The Top 20 Black Gate Fiction Posts in April - June 2, 2014 12:02 pm

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