Signore Davide Mana is a paleontologist and author in Torino, Italia who blogs over at Karavansara. A half-year ago, he discovered my rather hagiographic essay about Sword and Sorcery over at Way Too Fantasy, somehow thought it was interesting, and told me that he had a Sword and Sorcery novella up of his own. At the time I think one of my biggest complaints about it was that it ended. Thankfully, he wrote a second part, and it is just as engrossing and entertaining as the first one was. If anything, the prose is a little tighter and the suspense sharper, though neither one of those things were exactly problems in the first part.
BIAS ALERT: I love novellas… they are perhaps my favourite form of fiction. Stories like these, however, are why I like them. They are long enough to really dig into the characters and the setting, but not so long that you’re committed for days or even weeks. Especially in the realms of Sword-and-Sorcery and Adventure, I prefer these good long tales over novels. They seem to be of the length that your war buddy would tell over a long night of drinking at the tavern, not so long that he has to keep coming back to the story over and over.
I recommend this for anyone who likes quality Sword-and-Sorcery and those who miss the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser as much as I do. The artwork may be a little off, but really, there is not much else I can say to critique the book. Amongst the things I really like is the fact that it’s set in the classic Roman world, and not the generic Western-Europe-Vague-Mideval-Setting-with-Inscrutable-Middle-East-off-the-Edge-of-the-Map that most S&S (or even High Fantasy) novels take place in. I’m looking forward to a new one. Four of Five stars.