Release Date: 16/06/11
Lenk and his band of fellow mismatched and grumpy adventurers are shipwrecked on an island. An island that is a graveyard for demons and dragonmen alike. An island inhabited by lizard men. An island of secrets that is about to become a battleground. And back in civilisation Bralston, a very different Librarian, is being sent out to learn exactly what has happened to the Tome of the Undergates and to punish those that have misused magic. And Bralston will uphold the law. But the Tome will be read and it is calling to those who would read it and open the gates to hell. Sam Sykes' unique and energetic fantasy has carved out its own place in the fantasy landscape. Critics are arguing about the book but readers have fallen for its dark and twisted charms. This is a key fantasy for the new decade.
OK, let’s be blunt here, I had major problems with the first book in the series as I disliked the lead characters and all their infighting. What Sam has done for his second book is split them up for a while which allows the reader to get a better grip on not only the world but also allows them to get to know each one a bit more individually without being thrown into pointless argument after pointless argument. It is cleverly constructed and whilst all gangs of people do in fight it’s something that could be alluded to or kept to a few salient arguments in a drunken brawl perhaps.
Add to the mix a pretty unique writing style, spartanesque prose as well as reasonable dialogue and whilst it doesn’t set the world alight for myself, it’s a reasonable enough read and provided that Sam can sort a number of the problems with his characters out, it could be a decent enough series due to the scale of the world in which they inhabit.