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Slavers of the Savage Catacombs (2) (Shadow Warrior) Paperback – January 6, 2015
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This story differs from the first, in that Ran is charged with a specific mission by his clan, to investigate the rumors of an army massing in the north. The interesting aspect of this story, is Ran's personal feelings getting in the way of his duty. He still wishes to find Princess Cassandra. And we finally get to meet her in this book. That being said, the story and characters are interesting and Merz creates a compelling conflict for them to deal with. Although I would say, it doesn't quite top the mystery and suspense of the first book. Don't get me wrong, Slavers is still a decent chapter to add to Ran's adventures. But it was more like a second act with a little less intensity for me.
In any case, we do get our fill of several rotten characters. Slavers, canabils and bandits to name a few. And Ran dispatches many of them with his sword. A few gruesome deaths befall a few characters, but that's to be expected when you throw canabils into the mix.
In the end, I enjoyed Slavers of the Savage Catacombs and am giving it a four. It had a well-crafted plot and plenty of action to keep me busy. Worth checking out, especially if you like action/fantasy stories.
Jon P. Merz
Baen, Jan 6 2015, $15.00
Barely surviving his initial post-graduation shugyo travels across the Dark Sea (see The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul), Ran the Shinobujin of the Gakur Mountains’ Nine Daggers Clan prays for a serene trek on the rest of his journey to Valrus where his beloved Cassandra resides. He reaches Chulal and seeks a guard position on a caravan heading west.
However, his hopes for a quiet passage end in Chulal when Ran encounters Tanka the intelligence gathering Shinobujin stationed there for the last decade. A camaraderie forms between the pair of Shinobujin. However, Tanka’s pigeons return with a message from the Nine Daggers that detours Ran to the north to investigate claims of a growing lethal invading force. Dutifully Ran joins a caravan heading in that direction, but they are overwhelmed with Ran and other survivors turned into expendable slave labor by an exiled tyrant preparing to invade his former kingdom. Ran realizes he must escape in order to prevent further destruction of the innocent.
The entertaining second Shadow Warrior sword and sorcery fantasy is a constant adventure-filled (with no respites) blood and gore ninja vs. zombie thriller; as even Ran’s flashbacks are loaded with non-stop action. Subgenre fans will appreciate Ran’s killing the dead escapades.
Top international reviews
Can't give it five stars because sometimes the whole setup is quite hard to believe.
The main character is at the same time super-human in his abilities but also super-stupid in some decisions....
Makes still for an enjoyable read but nothing more than that.