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Rage of Night

by Bryan Belrad

Published by BelradUniverse.com

Print edition available 2007

Reviewed by Mark Owings
Review posted 7/22/08



Rage of Night, by Bryan Belrad (BelradUniverse.com, 2007, 250pp, trade pb, $7.99)

This book is going to lose some of its intended audience at first glance. With a black cover and big red letters, adorned by a red-eyed gray skull, it looks like horror, while it is really fairly standard issue sword & sorcery, rather like Robert E. Howard with a little Abbott and Costello mixed in.

This book is going to lose a lot more of its intended audience because they will never know it exists. This is another print-on-demand self-published book, and I can't think why. Usually the question with self-published books is why they were published at all, but this one could hold its own as a mass-market paperback original, and maybe even as a lower-level hardcover.

I really wish it had. A half-decent editor could have improved it noticeably. It has typographical errors, confusion of homonyms, and odd choices of capitalization. At 182 thousand words, it could also stand to be cut some.

The plotline is of a long-dead but reanimated sorcerer raising an army to take over a kingdom so that he can run it. Not quite up to Conan the Conqueror, but above average, and worth reading if you are in the mood for such a book.

The book starts with some idea of laws for magic (though they are never spelled out), then has characters doing thing which by their own testimony nobody ever figured out to do before. This is cheating, I think.

A lot of invented-world fantasy novels assume a physical environment just like our own except for geography (usually more islands and smaller continents, for some reason). This one involves a solar eclipse much like ours, hence a sun and moon of the same apparent diameter, which is going to be pretty rare as astronomy goes, though we have it. But the author has occultation lasting most of the day for no obvious plot-reason. Maybe he's never seen one.

But despite all that, it's pretty good.









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