Overkill by Steven L Shrewsbury
Review by Daniel Cann
“Deliverance will come… A great flood once wiped clean the earth, destroying everything upon it. Before the deluge, in a time now forgotten, the world was a place of warriors and witches, conflicts between kingdoms, and, until their extermination, dragons. In this world, men may live centuries, fallen angels have begotten terrifying spawn, and sometimes, the best hope can be found in a brothel.
In the land of Transalpina, a new religion spreads, and important men are dying mysteriously, slain by what can only be the fire of dragon breath. Summoned by the Queen Garnet, the legendary warrior Gorias La Gaul returns to the place where he once saved the queen’s young granddaughter from treachery and enslavement. The Princess Nykia is gone, and soon others may try to claim the throne.
The queen has little choice but to turn to the only man who ever told her no. With the aid of one of the queen’s elite guard, the battle maiden Alena, and the young palace servant Orsen, the old mercenary will face pirates and traitors, monsters and foul magic in the quest to find the missing heir and learn the truth behind the disconcerting murders. Deliverance will come for Gorias La Gaul, but for now there are women to love, secrets to discover, and killing that needs doing.”
From the author of ‘Thrall’ you know you can expect a lot of brutal fighting, gore, graphic sex scenes and colourful language. This one isn’t for kids!
The 700 year old legendary warrior and dragon slayer is back again, atop his mighty stead, the black stallion Traveller. This mission means he will be brandishing his two swords and donning his armour “created from the skin of a wyrmling dragon” once again. He will need to draw on all his wisdom and experience if he is to succeed here.
The “hero for hire” with his wry, laconic take on the world, forever spouting one-liners and dishing out insults as well as advice is joined with other colourful characters but they have no hope of matching his charisma.
Orsen is the perfect foil to the rugged and thuggish Gorias, as he is cultured, analytical and thoughtful. I enjoyed the exchanges, dialogue and contrasts between the two. Also there is the female warrior Alena, both alluring and intimidating. This is a no-nonsense woman who is almost as formidable in a scrape as Gorias. Finally Nykia is the ancient day equivalent of a groupie: She idolises Gorias and has a shrine to her hero (as well as an intimately placed tattoo!)
There are monsters, dragons, demons, pirates and bounty hunters yet still Gorias is the main event. He is totally fearless and despite having a code of ethics and honour will not hesitate to hack off a limb or two or end a life!
Despite tending to meander at times, this is a hugely enjoyable romp packed not just with thumping action but also trickery, manipulation, magic and political intrigue. There are many different agendas being pursued.
Shrewsbury has succeeded in writing an exciting fantasy novel with some truly shocking incidents (one in particular is shall we say stomach churning!) This is unapologetically violent, shocking and very funny and in this universe an age gap of 667 years is not a bar to a physical relationship!
Published 2012 by Seventh Star Press
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