Reviewing Indie Authors One Book at a Time

Posts tagged ‘Sword and Sorcery’

Red Axe, Black Sun – Michael Karner


This is the tale of a band of mercenaries who become tangled in a war meant to bring about the end of the world, despite their intentions to stay out of anything political. They each have their own idea of how to spend their remaining days, and fighting with a war band isn’t among them. Ultimately, they are waiting to see what comes out of the “constellation” when it aligns properly in the sky. There is quite a bit of love tangle (more than just a triangle) along the way, eruptions of magic and war, and some very dark murders.

First of all, there is a lot going on in this book, and a great number of characters to keep track of. We tend to only get a little snippet at a time from each one’s perspective.  It’s almost too much for one book. It’s probably just me, but I prefer to limit the number of eyes I look through for any particular story.  A large portion of the center of the book is a battle and siege. If your into bloody, epic, medieval battle sequences, this will be right up your alley.

That being said, the descriptive writing is a multi-layered tapestry suited to the Fantasy genre. Everything from the landscape to the magical manifestations is depicted with outstanding language that brings the mystical realms home. The use of historical terms for weaponry and clothing was dead-on.

I ended up giving this a 3 Star. It’s not a badly written book, by any means, though I felt there were just too many people to keep track of and many were similar to each other.  I found myself wanting to rush through portions (like the long waged battle scenes) just to get back to the relationships and the ultimate peril the plot was leading up to.

Red Axe, Black Sun is available on



The Outrider Legion-Christopher Pepper

Book Review

Within the first pages of the prologue, I was drawn in by the curiously magical Master and the mission on which he sends our self-described “turncoat” narrator.  The story drops us into a world filled both with magic and mechanics, where some creations are imbued with both. This Sword and Sorcery brand of fantasy uses elements of Steampunk for an out-of-the-ordinary, believable world just outside this reality. The story takes us on an adventure with a freshly graduated squad of Outriders, and their first mission turns out to be much more perilous than they could ever have anticipated or asked for.

Pepper’s style depicts strongly framed characters both in personality and description. He expertly weaves archaic and common terms in a no-nonsense tone, bringing the story to life.  The story contained elements of fun to punctuate the seriousness of a mission gone awry.  Using terms from ancient Rome, he solidifies the image of the Legion members in the reader’s mind.  His monsters are morbidly grotesque, and the fight scenes are engaging.  It will be interesting to see where our Legion will adventure next.

I recommend this book to fantasy readers who like a taste of Magic and Mayhem.

I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  There were a few slow spots that held me back from a full five, moments when I wanted to skip ahead to get back to the action.  The style in the strong opening scene wasn’t kept up consistently throughout – a few trouble spots, but forgivable due to the strong, overall story line, and a full circle beginning to end.


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Outrider Cover


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