cover image A Pilgrimage of Swords

A Pilgrimage of Swords

Anthony Ryan. Subterranean, $40 (128p) ISBN 978-1-59606-924-4

Ryan (The Empire of Ashes) introduces a monster-riddled fantasy world with a perfectly balanced novella, including just enough backstory to create a cohesive story line and flesh out the characters. Pilgrim, a stoic warrior, undertakes a dangerous journey across the wasteland known as Execration to seek out the Mad God. Pilgrim hopes a granted prayer will rid him of the demon-possessed sword that’s whispering its bloodthirsty desires into his mind. Driven by vengeance but not twisted by hate, Pilgrim risks himself repeatedly to save the god’s six other petitioners, despite knowing only one prayer may be granted. But not all those seeking the Mad God are who they pretend to be, and each hidden agenda puts Pilgrim’s redemption in jeopardy. Ryan wows readers with a conflicted antihero and an action-packed, bloody trip through a harrowing, war-ravaged landscape. Pilgrim’s confrontation with the Mad God leads to unexpected revelations and sets Pilgrim on a new, far more worthy path. Fans of quick, descriptive tales built around shadowy figures with murky motives will enjoy this quest-based story and come away craving more (and longer) works set in this fascinating world. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Oct.)