Friday 5 August 2022

Review: Savage Realms Monthly July 2022


Literary Rebel, LLC, edited by William Miller

Savage Realms Monthly has been running for just over a year now, published as a paperback and a kindle e-book, showcasing three new swords and sorcery stories in each issue.

This issue is slightly different as the second story, Good for the Gander by David Wesley Hill, is not strictly speaking a swords and sorcery tale, involving as it does a cowboy magically transported to a weird realm of magic and supernatural horror, but its bizarre setting is if anything even more outlandish than most S&S tales and I doubt it will disappoint anyone. It is also filled with some of the quirkiest humour I have come across for quite some time. Transported against his will from the banks of the Rio Grande in 1879 by a sorcerer who wanted his help in a previous story, Charles Duke is struggling to find some way to return to his homeland. To his advantage he has two six-guns and a shotgun, weapons unknown in this world. But to his disadvantage, this world contains a vast array of fiendish creatures, including gods and demons. In this the third adventure about Charles Duke, he has to venture into Hell, which is even more gross than possibly anyone has ever described it before. In this magical world Hell is a real place, accessible for those crazy, foolhardy or desperate enough to enter it. Few, of course, manage to survive their encounters with its grotesque inhabitants. But that’s just part of the job if Duke is to find some way to return home. And, being the pragmatist he is, this is what he sets out to do. It’s a great, rip-roaring tale, with plenty of colourful characters, bloody conflicts and even bloodier twists and turns.

Opening this issue is A Place of Fellowship by Matt Spencer, which is possibly even bloodier, with conflicts aplenty, made all the more numerous by the betrayals and double-dealings of so many of the people Severin Gris comes into contact with in a grim world ruled by a viciously totalitarian religious movement called the Theocracy.

Closing this issue is Blood Vengeance by Zach Effenberger. Set in a world anyone who has watched the excellent Viking series on TV will recognise, the bloody feuds have been notched up quite a bit as our protagonist Magnus sets out to exact revenge on the murderer of his kin, the warlord Orm Stonefist. Norse folklore plays a big part in this tale, steeped as it is in the mindset of those who follow the gods of Valhalla. Another dark, grimly-envisaged setting filled with violent action.

Although the three tales in this issue are filled with blood and violence, they are varied too, with well imagined settings. All in all, a bloody good read.

Reviewed by David A. Riley  At the moment this link only connects to the ebook version but a print version will be available there soon.

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