THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL, Jon Merz, Baen Books, $15, 317 pages, ISBN: 9781451639162, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
If you have never encountered the writings of Jon Merz before, you are in for a treat. I am a fan of his Fixer series. Imagine Ray Donovan as a vampire doing his job for the vampire council and you have an idea of what to expect from Merz imagination.
In this first volume of a fantasy trilogy, we find Ran, a shadow warrior, seeking passage across the sea. Also on board the ship is Kancho, a samurai type warrior seeking those who kidnapped his daughter; Neviah, who is protecting Jysal as she journeys to a monastery where she is to learn how to control her magic; and, Vargal, the rich merchant accompanying his good to market. Malkyr is the captain of the Aqaria and sets out to sea at the beginning of a storm.
The storm turns into a hurricane and the Aqaria is shipwreck in the land of Kan-Gul, a powerful sorcerer who controls an army of the undead to do his bidding. He captures the group and has Vargal sacrificed to his pet monster to prove that he means business.
As they try to escape, Neviah will not allow Jysal to use her untrained magic except in minor instances and it comes down to the ingenuity of Ran and his sword and the sword of Kanchoto make their escape. As they try to escape from THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL, there is plenty of action and a surprise or two about why they crashed on this particular spot.
Merz has written a good action tale and I can’t wait to see the second volume of the trilogy, SLAVERS OF THE SILK ROAD. I would compare this to the works of Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony’s fantasy before the Xanth days. Pick this one up, I think you will enjoy this sword and sorcery fantasy