#99 – A Thirst For Vengeance, Edward M. Knight BOOK REVIEW

November 12, 2018
krauserpua

21461298

Now that’s a good cover!

What was your worst ever day like? Do you consider yourself to have had a tough upbringing?

I ask this because the main character, and narrator, of A Thirst For Vengeance probably has you beat. The tale begins when Dagan, dubbed the Blind Assassin, sits in a tavern recounting his life to a father and son, Earl and Patch. They keep him plied with ale as Dagan harks back to his childhood and the formative experiences that made him the wandering killer he is now. It’s bleak. About as bleak as the average lad raised in Sunderland.

To start, his mum tries to kill him when he’s two years old. Her new lover is spiriting her out of the village but she returns to thrust a knife through her toddler’s heart. Fate nudges her wrist and she misses, striking his shoulder. He toddles through a blizzard to be picked up by an old gypsy lady who sells him to a human trafficker. He winds up chained to a dungeon wall for six years by an evil brute called Three-Chins [1] where he is abused, tortured, and kept literally in the dark. Those kids are being raised for an underground human cock-fighting ring, The Arena, in the nearby city of Hallengard.

Not all is ill for young Dagan as he’s befriended by Three-Chin’s young daughter Alicia who smuggles him into her rooms where he can hide for several months, finally forming a tender human connection. So, Three-Chins gets wind of this and rapes Alicia in front of Dagan and then murders her. Yep, so far, so Sunderland. Or perhaps Hartlepool.

Finally the day arrives when he’s chained up and caged into the back of the wagon bound for Hallengard. Random bandits attack the caravan, killing the two drivers and freeing the kids. One bandit recognises something special in Dagan and presses a marked coin into his hands together with instructions to show it to the keeper of a temple in Hallengard. Dagan treks off, still only eight years old. Upon arrival in Hallengard he’s jumped by street kids who beat him senseless, steal his coin, and leave him for dead. He turns to begging and street crime. [2]

bully

Trauma like this turned Dagan into an assassin

So, having seen what poor Dagan put up with, do you really think you had it hard when Joannie from third grade laughed at you because Billy pulled your pants down in the assembly hall?

At heart, this is a revenge tale, as the title subtly suggests. Dagan gets trained up by an enigmatic former assassin called Blackstone, who had infiltrated The Black Brotherhood gang of thieves to reclaim some magic knives. Or something. Knight is clearly making this all up as he goes along and I know [3] the entire novel was written in just twenty days. I suspect the planning phase was twenty minutes of that, and editing about two. It all moves along towards Dagan getting trained up until he and Blackstone heist the next big show at The Arena so as to kill Three-Chins and steal all the stake money wagered on the bouts.

There’s big explosions, knifings, sword fights and stuff. No wizards, dwarves, or orcs, though. This is of the men-only fantasy style, like Conan, where even magic is rather subdued. None of that Wheel Of Time soyboy bullshit. I dare say there’s not a single strong female character in the book. The women are only there to be raped and murdered, just like real life.

The_Blight

Soyboy bullshit, yesterday

This book is the usual Kindle fantasy fare so it’s rather a large step down from Robert E Howard, or J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s refreshing that there’s no faggotry at all, either literally in the bumming/Turkish sense, or in the soyboy Terry Pratchett sense. It’s all rough men finding excuses to knife each other after a night of drinking, just like in Sunderland. I don’t especially recommend it but you could do worse if you want a similar story to those old TOR Conan novels. It’s not that level, but then again it’s only 0.99p on Kindle.

If you’d like more bumming-free books full of sex, adventures and no rape (honest!) then try my products here. So long as I can sell a few every day, I can keep up rental payments on my old London lock-up so staff won’t ever open it up and discover the bodies.

[1] No connection to Jimmy Five-Bellies.
[2] And E.M. Knight then drops the whole coin/temple plot for the rest of the book.
[3] Don’t ask me how, but I know for a fact.

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