“…we’re all of us pawns, and many in games far

beyond our understanding.”

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards





Scourge of the Betrayer is neither breakneck paced nor action packed – but ultimately that doesn’t even matter. This novel is essentially the (very well written) introduction to a much more grand-scale storyline, one with a potential narrative magnitude to rival any shelf-bending fantasy.


The focal character (and narrator) is Arkamondos, a young scribe who is hired on as the chronicler for a band of Syldoon soldiers, legendarily ferocious warriors whose exploits are the stuff of nightmares. The job is a perilous one but the band’s brooding, introspective leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin, puts it all into perspective early on:


“I can give you something much grander than coin. Fame. Fame for having been the archivist of an amazing tale. I could’ve chosen any scribe to record this, but I chose you. Among many. And you’ll have the rarest of opportunities to record something exceptional firsthand. For now, I’ll tell you this much. All empires crumble. All borders change. All kingdoms die. Where I’m taking you, you’ll witness the death of a body politic, the expiration of a way of life, the redrawing of a map. Something singular and priceless…”


Knowing virtually nothing about Killcoin’s mission or even where they are headed, Arki sets off with the band – and quickly becomes involved in a conspiracy of epic proportions that will not only change the political balance of power in the realm but will change Arki and the way he perceives the world around him…




Bottom line: Scourge of the Betrayer is a literary appetizer that will undoubtedly captivate anyone who enjoys fantasy, be it epic fantasy, adventure fantasy, military fantasy, etc.


If you’re a fan of Cook’s Black Company, or GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, or of classic fantasy sagas like Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Moorcock’s Elric, this is a debut novel that is, like Jagger said, “what you need.”



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 


 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

by JeffSalyards on ‎05-13-2012 06:11 PM

Many thanks for the kind review. And the Stones references. :smileywink:




by Author Zkullis on ‎05-14-2012 06:48 PM

I am putting this on my TBR list (which isn't terribly long) right now.


Thanks for the review, Paul, you have yet to lead me wrong.

by on ‎06-03-2012 06:57 PM

I just finished this book and it is everything you said Paul. I will be watching for the next book. :smileyhappy:

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎06-03-2012 06:59 PM

Awesome – so glad that you enjoyed it, Pen!  :smileyhappy:

by JeffSalyards on ‎06-09-2012 03:44 PM



I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed the book so much. Thanks again to Paul for writing a review that encouraged you to pick it up.


Any chance I can sweet talk you into posting a small review on B&N/Goodreads/Amazon? Being a debut fella, I need all the press I can get. :smileyhappy:


Best regards,





Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.