Kagen the Damned (St. Martin’s Griffin, May 10, 2022). Cover design by Bob Grom
Jonathan Maberry is a prolific guy, with dozens of science fiction and horror novels under his belt — including ten volumes in the popular Joe Ledger series, which Brandon Crilly described in his Black Gate review as “filled with a host of deeply-imagined heroes and villains… Every novel features some sort of established horror premise and gives it a mad science twist.” As a fervent supporter of mad science, that’s definitely an endorsement I can get behind.
Kagen the Damned is Maberry’s first straight-up adventure fantasy, and it looks like a winner. Publishers Weekly calls it “gripping… peppered with figures from European folklore and monsters from the Cthulhu mythos,” and Fantasy Book Critic describes it as “a violent pulp read, fast and furious, with fantastic ideas and creepy mythos.” In true adventure-fantasy style, it’s the first installment of an epic fantasy series, and that’s okay by me. Here’s an excerpt from the notice at Kirkus Reviews, which labels it “a vibrant, textured, and exciting admixture of subgenres.”
In the first of a series, epic fantasy blends with eldritch horror and folklore as a man seeks vengeance for the destruction of an empire.
Kagen Vale, sworn protector of the young heirs of the Silver Empress, awakens from a night of debauchery to discover himself naked and weaponless as the forces of the long-defeated Hakkians slaughter the royal family and conquer the Silver Empire in the course of a single night. Tormented by his failure to save his charges and by a vision of his nation’s gods literally turning their backs on him, the apparently damned man wanders the countryside in a drunken and murderous haze while nursing vengeance against the usurping Witch-king, a sorcerer and disciple of Hastur, the sinister Shepherd God… the novel’s thrilling denouement [strikes] like a hammer blow.
A vibrant, textured, and exciting admixture of subgenres that do not often play together.
Read the complete review here.
Kagen the Damned was published by St. Martin’s Griffin on May 10, 2022. It is 551 pages, priced at $34.99 in hardcover, $18.99 in trade paperback, and $12.99 in digital formats. The cover design is by Bob Grom. Read an excerpt from Chapter Two here.
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