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Darkness Weaves

(Kane #7)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,222 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Once Efrel was the beautiful consort of a king. Now she is a hideous creature who lives only for revenge. She has allies to aid her, but only Kane, the Mystic Swordsman, can rally her forces for battle. Only he can deliver the vengeance she has devised in her knowledge of black magic.
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Warner (first published 1970)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  1,222 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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4.5 to 5.0 stars. Today, I thought I would provide a public service by definitively answering the above question, which has been confounding fantasy fan boys for decades.

Now before we (and by we I mean myself and the other voices in my head) answer this question, we want to comment on all of the other “theories” floating around regarding this question developed by so called “experts” in the genre. These other theories are, in a word, g
J.G. Keely
There are stumbling blocks for every author--we each have our crutches, our weak points, our awkward moments--but what sets a good author apart is that, despite these things, there is always something that carries them through it, some verve or strength that makes up for it.

This is especially true for pulp and genre authors: their work may be unpolished, even bordering on the cliche, but some aspect of their approach and vision still shines through. Lovecraft's pacing and voice often left much t
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glorious, grim sword & sorcery of the 1970s (as published in Wagner's preferred 1978 revision, after Powell Press mangled the original in 1970).

Efrel, done wrong by, and horribly disfigured by, Emperor Netisten Maril, recruits the legendary warrior Kane (red haired, left-handed, possibly immortal, well-versed in both swordplay and sorcerous arts) to command her armies as she seeks vengeance against the Emperor, his daughter M'Cori, and the Thovnostian Empire as a whole. (And she may also hav
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Superb Cover. I've been meaning to read this ever since I saw a Kane illustration gallery on a Frank Frazetta site. while the florid language feels at times dated and I miss the humor from Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouse series, I must admit that Karl Edward Wagner has style and can weave a truly disturbing tale in a rather tight package.

I don't generally respond well to cynical world views and bloodthirsty heroes, but Kane has made a strong impression after only one book. While he is in so
Kane is sought out by a mad princess to lead her forces in a revolt against her king & husband on the recommendation of a demon. It goes about as expected with plenty of betrayal, killing, torture & gore to spice up the horror & sorcery. Truly a great S&S adventure. This also fills in a bit more of Kane's history that is hinted at in "Cold Light", the second story in Death Angel's Shadow.

This is the Centipede Press edition. If reading this in chronological order, it should be rea
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I've been fascinated with Wagner for several years now, actually longer than that but I didn't realize it until recently. If you of a certain age you may remember The Science Fiction Book Club and their mail order catalogue from back in the day. I distinctly remember ordering several Conan collections and eventually figured out they were edited by Wagner.

The Hour of the Dragon Conan by Robert E. Howard Conan The People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard Red Nails by Robert E. Howard


Anyway, Wagner used Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Conan as a starting point for his anti-hero warrior/pirate/sorcerer. Although
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason M Waltz
Enjoyed another tale of Kane, learned a bit more of the man, and found myself readily enthralled by his plots and machinations. It was nice to see him interact with a friend of sorts throughout the entire story. Definitely good to see him triumph once more, but I experience mixed emotions when he yet again stumbles at the moment of his own personal triumph. As he says, "It's a game I play. An old game with an old enemy." While he's a scoundrel with black heart as black as any and blacker than so ...more
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2012
This is the first of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane books (in its full edition, as restored in 1978), but the second one I've read (since I quite accidentally managed to start with book four a few years ago).

This particular novel tells an epic story of conquest and revenge, as the mad sorceress Efrel seeks righteous vengeance upon the Emperor of the Thovnosian empire, Netisten Maril, to whom she was once married. Aided by supernatural forces, Efrel is recommended to seek out Wagner's brilliant anti-h
Jamie Underwood
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Tale of high adventure and sorcery. Kane is a heavily endearing character; his brutality and deceptiveness is countered by a sophisticated and learned mind. His evil appears lessened somewhat only because the Characters in the book surpass even Kane's constant intent for domination through brutal conquest. Its hard not to like Kane, and in this novel we find Kane with a companion, a friend, which he has not had in the previous novels, and it is interesting to find him able to trust in an ally. ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Karl Edward Wagner's "Kane" is a great character in Heroic fantasy. Personally, I think he's the best character ever. This is one of the very early Kane novels, orginally published as "Darkness Weaves With Many Shades." It's a very good introduction to the character.
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Before the involvement of the Scylredi, this it is a well-crafted but otherwise typical sword and sorcery story of human-scale treachery and trickery: everyone involved seems to be sharpening a knife for the inevitable plunge into an ally's back. There is the standard dark magic by the vengeance-obsessed evil queen (though 'evil' here is an entirely relative concept), and the bloody battles, the assorted cast of unsavory characters, and an empire to be forged.

Wagner dips into Lovecraftian oeuvre
Nicholas King
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As I read Karl Edward Wagner’s Darkness Weaves, I was struck by the familiarity of the setting. The pre-industrial (and possibly post-apocalyptic) world of Kane, the Mystic Swordsman, is classic sword and sorcery with malevolent witches, blood-soaked battles, and a plethora anti-heroes. This is not “high fantasy” of the Tolkien or Brooks variety where the heroes are virtuous and good triumphs over evil in the end. There is no limit to the action, moving from thrilling violence for its own sake ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Reread this book after finding it in an old box of mine my parents gave me after cleaning the grandparent's attic. Kane is a fantasy anti-hero. Barbaric in his actions, if not his orgins, evil not in the small details of life, but in his general abandonment of any standards or measurements outside his own personal gain. Saying all that, Wagner makes him likable, or at least intriguing, and you can cheer for Kane because in the world he inhabits the choice does not seem to be between good and ev ...more
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite dark fantasy series. Kane is an excellent anti-hero, not really good but not entirely a bad guy either. Excellent story and character. Highly recommended.
This is copy 40 of 300 signed and numbered copies. Facsimile signed by Karl Edward Wagner and signed by Bram Sels.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Do you love sword and sorcery fiction? Do you enjoy anti-heroes pretty much destroying the world with a weapon in each hand? Not opposed to a redhead? Then don't wait, but dive in! You're in for a treat.

Darkness Weaves was all I hoped it would be. Wagner provides us an interesting anti-hero, but one who will fail to elicit any sympathy. That's okay, because he's great at killing. The settings are atmospheric and the writing style is perfectly matched to bring out the oh-so eldritch decay of it a
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I continue to enjoy reading the books about Kane. Personally, I enjoyed him having a psuedo side kick in this one in Arbas, a character that could have been (though it's fine that he wasn't) more developed to be fun. But of course with Kane's immortality and distance of centuries between stories, there is no need for another character to be around him all the time. The book is very well written and I enjoy deeply Kane's bloodlust and pureness of evil. It seems that Kane fights for others nations ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
It's a shame these aren't republished, kind of hard to get your hands on it.

I liked the book, it's definitely not high-brow, and but very entertaining nonetheless. Even though Kane is kind of a Gary Stewart. But that's on particular with the genre maybe, Kane is like Conan, and but with more tricks on his sleeve.

Also really didn't expect but digged the Lovecraftian horror.

I wonder how the rest of the books are.
Karl Edward Wagner's Kane is a fascinating hero, or rather anti-hero - like Conan, but with higher intelligence, and some magical abilities as well. He is cursed with immortality and often does things out of sheer boredom. And as this book suggests, he may or may not be Cain from the Old Testament. This, the first Kane novel, is a great introduction to the character.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Woohoo, the book concludes in a massive battle with a gratifyingly large number of betentacled beings leading the way! I like the intelligent, ambulatory ones the best. Like many fantasy battle scenes, things get a bit generalized and gore besplattered, not that Wagner's prose undergoes a decline in his descriptions of the dark events. A very atmospheric read.
Craig Rettig
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fans of Conan need to check this book out, as Wagner writes some brutal fight sequences and has a good imagination for multiple-person battle scenarios. There are also several decent subplots working in this book at all, which is surprising given its short length.

All in all, this is a tightly-written book that I really enjoyed.
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely perfect novel. Could not ask for any more in a Sword and Sorcery tale. I can see why this is such a cult classic. If you are interested in Fantasy, you have to read this one.

What I don't understand is why it is out of print. Shameful.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like Conan, if Conan was smart.
Lee Broderick
I avoided this book for a while, wary of a biblically inspired protagonist from a Bible Belt author. That wariness, I now realise, was unjustified, even if I might like to flatter myself that it was understandable. Why shouldn't the Judeo-Christian mythos be any less fertile a ground for cultivating fantasy tropes than the Ancient Greek or Germanic legends? The answer, as I probably would have acknowledged before, is that there's no reason - it just requires the right author and that was what ma ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wagner
So, I have to start this out saying I own most books Karl Edward Wagner has written and multiple copies of all the Kane books including two copies of "The Book of Kane" (one is signed number 400 something). I'm a bit of a fan. I ran across an old copy of "Night Winds" in Ensenada Mexico when I was in junior high school and have been collecting Kane books ever since.

This is the second time I have read "Darkness Weaves", the first time I was in my late teens / early twenties. My goodness it's goo
J. Weichsel
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I don't believe there's such a thing as a "guilty pleasure," because I think that you either like something or you don't and there's nothing to feel "guilty" about either way, but if I did believe in guilty pleasures, Darkness Weaves would be a great example. Man oh man, it's so trashy you can't help but be entertained. The climax involves a witch performing sorcery on a nude damsel, earlier a damsel is raped and impregnated by a Lovecraftian sea monster, there is a battle scene between a fleet ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it liked it
A while back I read that Karl Edward Wagner was the spiritual successor to Robert E. Howard. Kane is Wagner's most famous character as Conan is Howard's. I can certainly see where the comparison comes from and can even agree.

Is Kane as good as Conan? Well, not for reading purposes in my humble opinion, but this book wasn't bad. In Darkness Weaves, we find Kane hired to be a general for an attempt to overthrown a distant Empire based in some islands. The person who hires him was horrifically cri
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kane, immortal wanderer returns to the place where he and his sea faring pirates wreaked havoc several centuries ago. Summoned by a witch seeking revenge on an island Empire he leads new navy but Kane would not be Kane if there wasn t some cloak-and-dagger action around. Finally he confronts the witch only to find that she has very powerful allies creatures that have lived on Earth when it was completely covered in oceans.[return][return]Recommended. ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"Darkness Weaves" is an enjoyable dark fantasy novel I read some time ago. The hero Kane is an immortal powerful cursed wanderer in a medieval type world. He is both a brainy warrior with supernatural healing abilities and a sorcerer. In this tale a mutilated woman named Efrel seeks revenge on her enemies using Kane's battle prowess and her own sorcery.
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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

Other books in the series

Kane (6 books)
  • Night Winds
  • Bloodstone
  • The Book of Kane
  • Dark Crusade
  • Death Angel's Shadow
“Men told that Kane was a giant in stature, more powerful than ten strong men. In battle no man could stand before him, for he fought with a sword in either hand - wielding easily weapons that another warrior could scarcely lift. His hair was red as blood, and he feasted on the still-beating hearts of his enemies. His eyes were the eyes of Death himself, and they cast a blue flame that could shrivel the souls of his victims. His only delight was in rapine and slaughter, and after each victory his banquet halls echoed with the tortured screams of captive maidens.” 7 likes
“In their castle beyond night
Gather the Gods in Darkness,
With darkness to pattern man's fate.

The colors of darkness are no monotonous hue -
For the blackness of Evil knows various shades,
Full many as Evil has names.

Vengeance and Madness, inseparable twins,
Born together and worshipped as one;
Nor can the Gods tell one from his brother.

In their castle beyond night
Gather the Gods in Darkness
And darkness weaves with many shades.”
More quotes…