A Pilgrimage of Swords

Subterranean. Sept. 2019. 128p. ISBN 9781596069244. $40. FANTASY
Pilgrim joins a group of supplicants seeking the ear of the Mad God, who laid waste to his own kingdom 200 years ago. Together they traverse a path across the Execration, an unforgiving landscape inhabited by all manner of horrors, under the guidance of a young priest—the last of the faithful. They number only six, but some will be lost along the way. The travelers have their own reasons, their own prayers to offer up to the god, and their own fervent hopes that they will be answered. All of the supplicants have secrets and would keep them hidden. Whose prayer will be answered? Will Pilgrim at last find release from his cursed sword and their mutual obsession with vengeance? Ryan (“Raven’s Shadow” series) populates his newest fantasy novella with a curious group of characters, each thinned down to their singular motivations in seeking out the Mad God, and thrown together like Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.
VERDICT This grim, succinct tale should find an eager audience among fans of sword-and-sorcery fare and short stories.

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