The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul

Jon F. Merz. Baen, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3916-2
Merz (the Vampire Lawson Series) establishes his new Asian-flavored Shadow Warrior series in a generic, overly serious tale. Ran, a young shadow warrior, tries out his skills in the real world after being shipwrecked with an unlikely set of companions: fat merchant Vargul; Kancho, an old honor-bound Murai warrior; Malkyr, the ship’s disagreeable captain; Jysal, a beautiful untrained sorceress; and Neviah, Jysal’s proud and competent protector. They soon discover that their arrival has been orchestrated so that the sorcerer Kan-Gul, who has raised an army of soul-eating zombies, can forcibly marry Jysal and take her power. Borrowing from horror plotting as much as from fantasy, Merz progressively kills off everyone except for the couple he will take to the next book. Stereotyped relationships between men and women yield annoying character interactions. The fighting is standard uncanny warrior fare and the magic a mess of handwaving, mumbling, and orbs of light. The story lacks both the sense of fun and the respect for Asian cultures that a ninjas-vs.-zombies tale deserves. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/03/2013
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 408 pages - 978-1-4767-3675-4
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