Exotic locales, relentless pacing, adventures steeped in the supernatural, heroic deeds, maybe a little romance, and that ever-present sense of breathtaking wonder – I absolutely loved these stories… in many ways, they saved my life.

 

 

Jones has not only edited numerous Harold Lamb collections (Swords from the West, Warriors of the Steppes, etc.) but is also the managing editor of Black Gate magazine (www.blackgate.com) so with the book in my hands, I was expecting something great…

 

…and I’m happy to report that’s exactly what I got.

 

 

“Within a half hour of our arrival we had passed treasures and splendors to set a miser fainting in envy and a thief perspiring with greed. The boy filled my mind with wonder, chattering as he went about this or that rumoured treasure. Beyond a heavy door were niches where the boy claimed the very staff of Moses could be found, along with the crown of Cyrus, the sword of Iskander, and a book written by the angel Gabriel…” 

 

The two door pulls together, used by a sorcerer with sufficient arcane knowledge, can be used to open up a passageway to Ubar, a glorious city in the desert – “an entry point into the land of djinn” – that was completely ruined centuries earlier.

 

 

The action and adventure are marvelous – but it’s Jones’s narrative tone that powers this novel. It’s atmospheric and darkly lyrical and utterly readable:

 

“That evening the sun burned like a great red eye that bled down upon the waters; it was as though a grisly end were to come to the world, and judgment were at hand. The evening star gleamed low and proud, like a tiny candle held aloft by a soul drowning in a sea of blood and darkness.”

 

Read those two sentences again and tell me that isn't fantastic stuff.

 

I loved this novel – it was a glorious sword-and-sorcery adventure in the vein of the aforementioned classics. And, for me, it was particularly moving; it brought me right back to my childhood, losing myself in Moorcock’s Elric saga in my bedroom as my life seemingly crumbled around me. Jones’s debut was just as powerfully immersive…

 

Hopefully this novel will spark a sword-and-sorcery renaissance – you can sign me up and give me a scimitar. I'm in.

 

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for almost the last two decades and has written more than 6,000 reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.

Comments
by gezza on ‎03-10-2011 07:21 PM

Makes me want to buy it, Paul. Thanks for the heads up.

by on ‎03-10-2011 07:39 PM

Dreams, set forth in the form of fantasy adventures, are hard to come by these days. I'm glad you had yours in youth. And, I appreciate the need to be carried away by a good story at times.

 

I'll keep this book is mind when I need of a total escape from life. It really sounds good.

by on ‎03-10-2011 08:15 PM

Going to bug the library for this one.  Thanks for the heads up Paul.

 

Toni

by on ‎03-11-2011 01:34 AM

(rubs tummy) Just what I've been hungry for. Thanks Paul!

by on ‎03-11-2011 06:30 PM

This will be in my list. Thanks for all the recommendations. My family says did you get that recommendation from that Paul guy on those boards you read.

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎03-11-2011 06:35 PM

Well, I hope your family doesn't hate me, pen – just trying to help!   :smileyhappy:

by on ‎03-11-2011 07:12 PM

Paul, my family thinks you do a GREAT job. They knew I was getting good help in choosing books. It's a good feeling to know I have all those good choices in my pile of books.

by on ‎03-11-2011 07:53 PM

Pen,

 

My husband regularly complains about the my monthly B&N bills. He keeps asking how I can read/order that many books, and I just smile and say that next month I'll cut down. He also complains, off-and-on, about the time I spend on this web site. He has no idea what its like for someone who's a book addict and no idea how fortunate I was to stumble on these boards/members/Paul.

 

Although my husband doesn't understand my love of reading, he is a saint. Believe me, only a saint would marry me.:smileyhappy: 

by on ‎03-11-2011 08:48 PM

Dalnewt,

I know what you mean. To be able to discuss books and get recommendations is wonderful. Books are an expense. For me they are a necessity not a luxury.

by ‎03-12-2011 07:20 PM - edited ‎03-12-2011 07:53 PM

I could live without books Pen, but I sure wouldn't like it. Life would be lacking. Books aren't a necessity for me, they are a habit akin to wanting coffee in the morning and enjoying the company of an old friend and loyal pet. They are a craving, a desire. :smileyhappy: 

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎03-14-2011 03:27 PM

Paul, I'm someone who didn't think she was interested in this type of read until I read your wonderful review/article. So sign me up for the cult too.

Deb