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Bloodstone (Kane #2)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  673 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Kane, the Mystic Swordsman becomes the living link with the awesome power of a vanished super-race.

In the dark swamp where toadmen croak and cower, slumbers an ancient relic of the days when creatures from the stars ruled the Earth. In the booty captured in a savage raid, Kane discovers a ring, a bloodstone, which is the key to the power that lies buried, inactive but not
Paperback, 0 pages
Published August 1st 1991 by Baen (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,082)
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5.0 to 5.5 stars. This is the first time I have read a "Kane" novel by Karl Edward Wagner and I am kicking myself for not having read him sooner. This is sword and sorcery action at its best and Kane has instantly become one of my favorite characers.

Best way I can describe Kane is to call him Robert E. Howard's Conan if Conan were immortal and completely amoral. This lack of morals (okay let's just call him a bad guy) is largely the result of Kane immortality. Kane is VERY, VERY OLD and his ext
- What are you, Kane ... man or demon?
- I've been called both, though both races have damned me often enough. And I claim neither - although once men called me brother.

Kane in action

Note: this is my first try to insert an image into a review. I hope it works, because Frank Frazetta did a great job in capturing the essence of Kane - the immortal hero cursed to leave destruction in his wake for all eternity.

This is my third Kane book by Karl Edward Wagner. I've been trying to read them in order, but any one o
Geoff Hyatt
I counted 13 exclamation points on a single page and innumerable uses of the words "ravening" and "batrachian" throughout the entire novel. So, basically, this book rules. Death rays! Giant snakes! Human sacrifice! All forms of bladed weaponry causing all manner of sloppy red mayhem! Ancient evils! Alien submarines! Ravening batrachians!

Bloodstone is the first Kane novel KEW wrote, but it was published after Darkness Weaves. Although Darkness Weaves is more accomplished, Bloodstone has a level o
Ben Loory
well it's not the most original book in the world, being basically a conan / fritz leiber rip-off, but it moves fast and is a lot of fun and escalates moment by moment until the final battle sequences are just incredibly imaginative and intense. if i'd read this when i was twelve it would've been up there with the elric books. i'll probably read the others anyway...
John Mayer
I cannot claim to be objective in my rating of this book, but I think Wagner was the best author of heroic - or, in the case of Kane, villanous fantasy - of the 20th century. I and members of his family have begun a website (if such things are permitted here) in his honor:
Wagner layers his story extremely effectively, starting with some surprisingly concise and cogent world-building regarding the political situation in a small frontier section of the world, and the internal politics of the involved city states. From there, Kane plays a dangerous and intricate military/political game against both sides, to manipulate the situation according to his own plans.

By this point, a bare third into the book--which also included a harrowing journey into an infested swamp to
Richard Stacey
Dark Crusade still the best Kane novel in my opinion. But- this was a guilty pleasure... Kane doing his thing- going to some kingdom and playing off factions against each other while he manuveurs for power and the chance to harness the powers of the alien "bloodstone". Its all a bit hammy somehow but made for an enjoyable read. I dont know why so many say Wagner doesnt handle women well- I thought Teres was a pretty interesting character and didnt see any sexism that would not be normal in the s ...more
Lee Broderick
Fomenting war, seeking to conquer the entire human race as a way of staving off boredom (and hoping that the eventual and inevitable destruction of his projected empire would prove just as fun and distracting); it's hard to think of how one novel could more clearly demarcate Kane from Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd or Robert E. Howard's Conan. Kane is in no way generous, altruistic or noble.

The politics and depiction of a land at war made me wonder if this could have been an influence on the modern mast
Devyn Kennedy
I really wanted to like this book. I mean that. And, honestly, it came close many a time to reeling me into it, only to fall short and leave me wanting.

Allow me to start by telling you what this book did well. Wagner has a talent for setting a scene, one which I can easily relate. His descriptions of people and of the world that they inhabit is enchanting. He knows how to turn a phrase and really pull the reader into the story.

As a writer myself I can understand the love that Wagner has for set
Kane, immortal wanderer, man punished to never-ending servitude for crime he committed. Although he tries to remain human, although he longs for love, for chance to lead men [into whatever he desires] he is forbidden to enjoy fruits of his own efforts. He is an eternal wanderer, man without land or family, treated well by high-lords when he leads their mercenary bands and subjugates their enemies but more than feared when he tries to establish himself as a ruler and a leader (interestingly this ...more
Kane is a true antihero. He is not just a guy doing good through questionable means; he is an evil villain, trying to take over the world, and he is the hero of the story. So, do I root for him to win, or hope he loses?

I like the character and the world in which it is set.

The writing style occasionally jarred me. I like an author to use a few synonyms rather than the same unknown word over and over and over (batrachian).
Brian Hastings
Kane is the best "fantasy" character created since Robert E. Howard. I'm not joking or flattering. This is one of the best authors to ride the line between fantasy and horror; using a far superior main character that cannot be classified villain or hero. Kane is strong, intelligent, skillful in both fighting and the dark arts, and an expert at manipulation.
I have worn the Kane saga books to the quick. They've traveled with me thousands of places and I've cracked them for a touch in the most unlikely places. Bloodstone was my first, and it left a hunger that the hapless fans of Dr. Wagner may never be able to fulfill.
One of my all-time favorite novels.

I first read it in 1975, have read it several times since then, and just finished it again.

I never get tired of it.
A very pulpy book. I didn't get much from this other than surface-level entertainment which is okay. Not exactly what I was looking for.

The pacing wasn't noteworthy in any way. I found each chapter seemed to get something done to move the plot forward which immediately puts this above some other pulpy books I've read.

The characterization was weak. I just couldn't sympathize with the characters. The characters were a bit cardboard. I felt like a lot of them were simply unfleshed plot-devices. It'
Aside from a few near-tedious infodumps, this was a fun read. The character was dark and borderline evil, but not evil for evil's sake. There's a real reason Kane is like he is, and it's woven into his background. The narrative was well-paced, and the world-building was excellent. The prose was great; very descriptive and engaging. Over all, a very good S&S book, and made me want to read more of Wagner's works.
Missing the one thing that makes the first two in the series great - Kane. Page after page of tedious battle descriptions but no Kane until he reappears with a bout 15 pages left. Great for learning new vocabulary, though. Must set the record for most uses of coruscant in a single work of fiction.
Akira Watts
Pure, ridiculous sword and sorcery. Unlike Leiber or Moorecock, Wagner is uninterested in adding anything more to the story, whether sly humor gothic gloom. Just straight up, purple-prosed silliness that is deeply entertaining. It's like watching Heavy Metal or listening to Manowar: pure enjoyment.
Ollie Odebunmi
No one of my favorite Kane stories. Kane under the malign influence of a long-lost alien race plots to build an empire and enslave humanity. It has its moments though, particularly when Kane, his wrath unleashed, realizes he is but a pawn, and turns the tables on his manipulator.
I am enjoying Wagner's Kane works. This was the second book after Nightwinds. Kane and the other characters are fleshed out with a story plot weaves the diverse characters into a complete work. Very good sword and sorcery. Definitely on par with Fafhrd and Mouser with Wagner having his own distinct voice. Not a Conan knockoff.
Kane conceives over-ambitious plan. Kane is grumpy. Kane engages in minor heroics suggesting that he's not as bad as all that - OR IS HE?! These books are a bit same-y.
Also ich gebe es jetzt auf dieses Buch lesen zu wollen.

Ich fand es einfach nur schlecht. Sehr verwirrend, wenig zusammenhängend und ein seeehr seltsamer Schreibstil.

Es passiert nicht oft dass ich Bücher abbreche, aber dieses Buch hat mich wahnsinnig gemacht. Ich musste Seiten teilweise 2 bis 3 mal lesen um überhaupt zu verstehen worum es gerade geht und den Faden nicht zu verlieren. Ich wage nun mal zu behaupten dass ich nicht auf den Kopf gefallen bin, aber dieser Schreibstil war für mich wirkl
Would make a great movie!
There are parts where it drags a bit but it is all worth it for the epic and even somewhat grotesque conclusion. The novel form seems to be the better way of telling Kane stories over the short story collections I have previously read.
Better than the first one. I remember liking it more when I read it the first time is high school.

I love the post apocalyptic world where humans are new race who lifted themselves from darkness by pillaging remains of ancient races who once inhabited the world. Cool old technology, some vile and forbidden magics. Story is mediocre but setting is where it's at. Worth reading if you yearn some something of the Sword and Sorcery genre.
What can I say, a novel about a villain that you should hate but can't help liking. It is sword and sorcery, science-fiction, and horror all in one. It is plainly obvious that Wagner was highly influenced by Lovecraft. Well written, fast paced, with some of the most interesting characters I've read in fantasy.
As I understand it, this was the first Kane novel that Wagner wrote, although not the first published. The character seems to still be developing somewhat here and I didn't think the book was quite as good as some of the later novels. Still, it was very enjoyable.
Brad Fitzpatrick
My first KEW book. I thought it was pretty decent, but not as great as I'm hoping his other Kane stories to be. A lot of people rave about Kane so there has to be more to him than what I experienced in this novel.
Well-written old style sword and sorcery with a bad-ass antihero protagonist. Gets rather hectic and a little silly at the end, but the writing itself lifts it above other pulp offerings.
They just don't write them like they used to... that being said, a rollicking tale that would be improved with a smidge less hyperbole
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Karl Edward Wagner (12 December 1945 – 13 October 1994) was an American writer, editor and publisher of horror, science fiction, and heroic fantasy, who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and originally trained as a psychiatrist. His disillusionment with the medical profession can be seen in the stories "The Fourth Seal" and "Into Whose Hands". He described his world view as nihilistic, anarchistic ...more
More about Karl Edward Wagner...

Other Books in the Series

Kane (6 books)
  • Night Winds
  • The Book of Kane
  • Dark Crusade
  • Death Angel's Shadow
  • Darkness Weaves
Conan: Road of Kings Darkness Weaves Dark Crusade Death Angel's Shadow Night Winds

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