Summary:In 9th century France, the zealous warrior Ragenard is finally within striking distance of his greatest enemy, a necromancer dead-set on disturbing the natural order of Creation. Their final battle ensues; one combatant fights with wrought iron and the other with the risen dead, although all is not as it seems about the two opponents and their enmity.
A fun, interesting tale by Creaney. Despite the modern publication date, it felt reminiscent of Old English lore (i.e. Beowulf). While those old tales were created to make larger than life heros in a clear battle of good vs. evil, Creaney adds a subtle twist to his own story making it more "psychological" rather than "horror."
In the popular warrior vs. necromancer fantasy battle, the warrior is almost always seen in a good light. The warrior represents everything that is pure, the necromancer messed around with dead stuff so, obviously, he must be bad.
What Creaney presents to us is a warrior that is so self-aware of his own righteousness that he believes himself to be a saint of sorts. Nothing he does could possibly be viewed as evil. The necromancer, on the other hand, is not totally evil. His toying with dead people is a result of his deep religious conviction. It provides an interesting scenario because neither side is really "good" or "evil." Creaney takes a classic black and white battle scene and turns it into what is perhaps a more realistic shade of grey.
Overall, definitely worth a read. I would highly recommend this story to anyone interested in fantasy and/or psychological stories.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez