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The Witch of the Sands

(The Hounds of the North #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  35 ratings  ·  12 reviews

Shield Scyldmund captured his prize: the bloody head of a desert chieftain. But despite the promise of desperately needed coins, the aging swordsman is disturbed.

After two decades of hunting down deadly witches and warlocks for the Dhurman Empire, Shield and his ruthless band of mercenary Northmen have been reduced to common bounty hunters in the
Kindle Edition, 66 pages
Published September 20th 2015 (first published October 20th 2014)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  35 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: freebies
Shield Scyldmund and his men The Hounds for two decades were the warlock and witch hunters for the Dhurman Empire, but now they've been reduced to bounty hunters. The Hounds yearn to return North while Shield continues to honor his vow to rid the world of dark magic users. Shield gets his chance as once more the empire calls on The Hounds to hunt a witch.

The Witch of the Sands was a surprisingly solid short story. The description seemed solid and I'm glad I gave it a chance. There is nothing
S.E. Lindberg
Peter Fugazzotto's The Witch of the Sands is a solid novella.
Very much like Glen Cook's The Black Company, this features a band of hired warriors (Hounds) set on quests/errands that once aligned with Shield's personal goal (kill all warriors and witches since they, namely the Warlock King, killed his father).

Here the Celtic/Viking-like Hounds deal with a Roman-like leader named Cassius (a nod to the IX "lost" legion) to (a) murder a magic-less chieftain (reasons unknown) and then (b) seek out
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Sword and Sorcery written in the Howard tradition, with a nod or two toward Robert E. Howard. I believe I also saw some Glen Cook influence, particularly from his Black Company books. This is a novella length work.

I liked this quite a bit. I thought the beginning started out a little slow. It was mostly dialogue from characters that we hadn't yet gotten to know well. Once the story got going, though, it rolled right along. The magic/sorcery concept here is a good one, involving words/songs of
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There seems to be a new theme creeping up in S&S literature. The embittered, hard as nails, veterans who want nothing more than to enjoy their spoils and hang up the shields. Mr. Fugazzotto does a wonderful job here.

The story is mostly introspection of Shield, the leader of the Hounds of the North. He begins the story wanting nothing more than to fulfill a vow he made twenty-odd years ago. As we travel along with the Hounds we learn tidbits about Shield's motivations and the origin of his
Ashe Armstrong
This was a fairly fun story. Plenty of sword & sorcery imagery to fill your mind's eye with. I really like the use of song in magic. That said, it could use a little more polish. At worst, it's mostly just in need of some editing. Change of phrase here, word swap there, nothing major. Give it a look though.
A Northmen take on The Wild Bunch.

That was what I was thinking while I was reading this.
A band of violent men, witch-hunters and swordslingers extraordinaire, accept a "last" task that brings them facing their past.

It is a great pleasure to discover new works in the Sword & Sorcery genre, paying homage to the classics (Robert E. Howard and Karl Edward Wagner came to mind), bringing a fresh, new, voice to it at the same time.

All the fight scenes were incredibly vivid, "choreographed" with
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I recieved this book courtesy of good reads first reads. This is a short 56 pages. It's an excellent start of a story based around a man on a mission to extinguish dark magic from the world. There are alot of loose ends that I assume can only mean we are going to see a sequel. I enjoyed the authors working style even if the dialog is fairly simple. It's short and to the point and good for anyone looking for a game of thrones esc Web comic kind of read. I could easily see this illustrated and set ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good sword and sorcery novel, the first in the series the Hounds of the North which deals with a group of mercenaries from the North fighting in the desert and selling their skills to any ready to pay them to kill witches and sorcerers! However, at the time of the story the few of the group who are left are all disgruntled and all of them are fighting their own internal battles it seems. They have seen their friends being killed off and are now pining to return to their own homeland. They also ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice little literary morsel

It's a short read-- can probably be finished in one sitting. I appreciated that it was unadulterated grimdark fantasy with all the violence and evil magic boiled down into a palatable...novelette (is that what it's called? IDK).

My only criticism is that the characters weren't fleshed out enough to discern who's who clearly, but I imagine that will develop with the next in the series. I'm looking forward to Black River and Five Bloody Heads.
Dann Todd
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3 stars on my scale was an enjoyable book, but not one that I would want to read again. A more accurate estimate of my experience would be 2.5 stars.

Received as a free ebook via the author’s website.

This book appeared to be the skeleton of a good story. It had enough sinew and tendons to hold it together, but lacked in flesh. Forgive the grim/dark approach in the preceding.

The characters seemed a bit wooden; as if they were pieces to be moved on a board game instead of living people represented
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Medieval like mercenaries-for-hire for witches and warlocks. Gory in an entertaining tale (not gory for shock's sake)
The unraveling of his back story was good, just not believable, as the head honcho of the Hounds for their motivations.
Laird Bruce
Step back into a time when Fantasy meant Sword & Sorcery and the the same vein as Fritz Lieber’s Fafred and Glen Cook’s The Black Company, comes Shield Scyldmund and the Hounds making their way way into a desert as the mercenary band hunts witches & warlocks. All is not well with the Hounds, out of coin, far from home they no longer believe in the mission.

This is the type of book I love!, imagine a mercenary band with Conan, Kull, Fafred and every other giant northman, age them 20 years
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
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Oct 11, 2015
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James Lynam
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Peter Fugazzotto is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. His short stories have been published in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Grimdark Magazine. His series The Hounds of North was launched with The Witch of the Sands in 2014. He is a lifelong martial artist and a World Champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

More information about Peter and his writing, including free stories, can be found at

Other books in the series

The Hounds of the North (3 books)
  • Black River (The Hounds of the North, #2)
  • Five Bloody Heads