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A Gritty Medieval Fantasy of Battles, Treachery, and Monsters: The Tales of Durand by David Keck

Sunday, January 13th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

In the Eye of Heaven-small In a Time of Treason-small A King in Cobwebs-small

The Christmas break, traditionally my longest reading holiday of the year, is over, and it’ll be a month or two at least before I can contemplate tackling another epic fantasy trilogy. But it’s not too early to start stacking by my bedside in preparation.

I’ve already picked out a promising series to start the new stack: David Keck’s Tales of Durand. Publishers Weekly praised the first book, In the Eye of Heaven (2006) as a “winning debut, a gritty medieval fantasy full of enchantment… deftly told,” and called the sequel, In a Time of Treason (2008) “grand-scale storytelling.” But they reserve their strongest praise for the long-awaited concluding volume A King in Cobwebs, saying

Keck concludes his Tales of Durand trilogy with this superlative fantasy epic, which sees the warrior Durand Col take his place among battles and treachery that threaten the kingdom of Errest the Old. Durand stands as champion to Abravanal, Duke of Gireth and holder of the Duchy of Yrlac. Although the Yrlacies are restless under Abravanal’s rule, the duke is commanded to ride with his household to the Fellwood Marches by his unhinged king, Ragnal. Yrlaci rebels harry the soldiers of Gireth on the road to the Fellwood, and, once there, they are chased by the inhuman host of maragrim, “hideous in their innumerable deformities.” … Keck sends the stalwart Durand through darkness and a lost land, facing terrors and beset by the dead. Human politics and dreadful foes are combined in this tale that stands with the very best fantasies.

A King in Cobwebs was published by Tor Books on December 4, 2018. It is 444 pages, priced at $28.99 in hardcover, $17.99 in trade paperback, and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by David Grove. Read an excerpt from In the Eye of Heaven here, and see all our recent coverage of the best in new fantasy series here.

5 Comments »

  1. Great artwork on these covers! This is the sort of fantasy art that gets a middle-aged geezer like me excited about possibly picking it up and buying it. I wonder what a younger crowd thinks of this sort of art?

    Comment by James McGlothlin - January 14, 2019 10:10 am

  2. James — good question! And I agree. I think these covers are moody and very effective.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 14, 2019 11:09 am

  3. Met David at the WFC 2015, where his friend (and mine?) Steven Erikson introduced us. Steven very highly recommended this series, which at that time was in distinct distress of ever seeing book 3 released due to the sales of numbers 1 and 2. I found those first two books and held out hope number 3 would appear one day – and was delighted to see its release for Christmas. I look forward to reading these!

    Comment by Jason M 'RBE' Waltz - January 14, 2019 11:51 am

  4. I guess at 29 i would qualify

    as a younger audience. I really like these. Hopefully we can move away from the two CGI looking characters that take up most of the cover set on a blurry background.

    Book 2 would stop me in a store if I saw that cover on display.

    Comment by Glenn - January 14, 2019 11:53 am

  5. @Glenn

    Yeah, your CGI comment is really the sort of thing I was thinking about. I think some of those sorts of covers can be interesting and artistic. But, for me, those sorts of covers generally don’t really motivate me to pick those books up. These covers do!

    Comment by James McGlothlin - January 14, 2019 12:36 pm


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