book reviews, books, Uncategorized

The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan



Ringil Eskiath, a reluctant hero viewed as a corrupt degenerate by the very people who demand his help, has travelled far in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a deathless human sorcerer-warrior raised by the bloodthirsty Aldrain, former rulers of the world.

Separated from his companions — Egar the Dragonbane and Archeth — Ringil risks his soul to master a deadly magic that alone can challenge the might of the Changeling. While Archeth and the Dragonbane embark on a trail of blood and tears that ends up exposing long-buried secrets, Ringil finds himself tested as never before, with his life and all existence hanging in the balance.


This is the last part of A Land Fit For Heroes trilogy. It makes Game of Thrones look like Downton Abbey. It’s savage, a perfect refute to the avuncular contempt that gets thrown at fantasy fiction, usually from people who claim that 400 pages of upper class angst is any more realistic. It takes as good a writer to make dragons and dwarves feel cogent as it it to point out the existential angst of why Quentin and Miriam were divorcing over his repeated failure to bring home sun dried tomatoes from the supermarket.  The MFA spawned sterile treatise on anxiety-paralysed libido is not any more worthy than someone writing about a magic sword. It’s all just words, and passion.

Morgan writes at a fever pitch, an elegant and passionate, bloody tale that broke my heart to finish. He brings in a complex, baroque history that is sourced in madness, passion, invasion and doesn’t spoonfed you the details. This, the last book has a lot of weight of lift and does so, ably and passionately. It’s not a neat, tepid affair and all the better for it. It was a refreshingly impassioned book, detailed and packed with dense action sequences, heartfelt politicking and the simple pleasure of a trio of friends, separate and all heading towards a grand dark destiny that may not have them survive it’s conclusion. His female protagonist is as vicious, capable and heart stoppingly brutal as the other two male protagonists. No one is an idiot in this series, and even then their idiocy is mitigated how awful they are.

A fantasy novel is something that I have plans to tackle at some point, but I’m interested in doing something away from the Nordic roots of Tolkein et al but still working with what gives readers the tingles as well. Morgan does such a good job that my own attempt may necessitate an 80’s action movie montage




Regardless, get these books, they’re great and when HBO buy it, you can be in the cool kids club as well.



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