A.E. Marling's Reviews > Scourge of the Betrayer

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
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Jun 13, 12


You may love Scourge of the Betrayer if you love your fantasy feast blood soaked and ungarnished, gritty in the fashion of Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, and GRRM. In this novel you'll find no superheroes, no wand-wielding children who can topple tyrants. The spiked flail has powers, but at a cost. The enchanted weapon poisons Braylar with memories that are not his own, corroding his identity and sanity.

Medieval food is described in sumptuous detail. Battles, even more so with intricate choreography. “We're the glorious ghostmakers,” one combatant says at the end of a somber speech before a fight. The banter between men in the band of imperial agents is another reason to enjoy the novel. An example: “You better shut your mouth tighter than a priest's asshole.”

Speaking of swearing, I checked where Jeff Salyards lived because he throws around the c-bomb like a proper Englishman. Also, be advised, the book has a torture scene.

The narrator is a scribe who serves as an engaging foil for Captain Braylar. As a scholar, he is most interested in survival first and, second, in understanding the why of events and the history behind them. He asks multiple questions of the other characters to that end. And on the topic of characters, I was particularly impressed with the nuance of Jeff Salyards' characterization of the party's scout, a woman with a mutilated hand but unbowed.

I did feel a stir of emotion at the end of the story, even in my geode of a heart. One could not call the story long, and the end may leave you wishing there was more.
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message 1: by Jeff (new) - added it

Jeff Salyards Your "geode of a heart"--love it! Well, I'm glad I was able to chip away at the minerals a bit. Thank you kindly for the write-up.


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