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Dark Lord review

The kind version of this review would read “Oh dear. Oh dear…”

Author: Ed Greenwood

Publisher: Solaris

368 pages • £17.99

ISBN: 978-1-84416-519-3

Rating:

Here are some phrases that appear in Dark Lord, the first of the Falconfair Saga trilogy (heaven help us) by Ed Greenwood, feted in RPG circles as the architect of the Forgotten Realms setting. “Motherless rump-licker.” “’Twill be a pleasure swording warriors!” "Man-reaction” (a reference to male lust). “Chain-girt” (meaning chained up). “Guard yon door!” “Flaxen moustache.”

When all these expressions appear in the space of a few pages, then you may be in the hands of a bold and clever author who enjoys playing language games with purple prose. More likely, you’re rathgulled (“rathgull” being a very rude expletive in the world of Dark Lord.) To call this a bad book does it no justice; it is, rather, an unreadable book. You could imagine it being used in a fantasy fiction competition to see how far readers could get without screaming. Some wouldn’t last past chapter one.

The story – stop me when you’ve heard enough – has a fantasy author awakened in his bedroom by a beautiful busty warrior woman. Poor chap. The newcomer calls him “Dark Lord,” bleeds over his bed, and begs him to save the world he’s created from an evil corporation that’s polluted his shining vision. Oh, and she has no issues with taking her clothes off in front of him.

All of which might be terrific fun, especially the last part. However, there’s barely a crumb of meaningful drama or characterisation (however hackneyed and generic) among the ugly, soul-destroying prose. It’s not even funny-awful, just painful in a “forget the naked slave-girl and make it stop!” kind of way. Dark Lord is right; this book is truly diabolical.

Andrew Osmond

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