Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul-Jon F. Merz

The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul

Jon F. Merz

Baen, Sep 3 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451639162

Ran the Shinobujin of the Nine Daggers Clan in the Gakur Mountains begins his post-graduation shugyo travels amidst the outside world, but lacks funds to pay for passage across the Dark Sea. At a bar, he observes a man place a knife against the throat of a wealthy patron; interceding Ran rescues Vargul the northern trader. To thank the Good Samaritan, Vargul, who is shipping goods on the Aqaria across the Dark Sea, pays for Ran’s passage to Chulai.

On board, Ran meets Kancho the drunk but knows the man is faking his intoxication to hide that he is a Murai warrior, and Neviah bodyguard to Jysal the young woman journeying to join a temple. At sea, a horrific torrent forces the ship off course until the Aqaria beaches on the reefs near the Cliffs of Doom with most on board dead. The captain and five passengers (as named above) make it to the beach. The next day Vulgar has vanished and by the following morning, only Ran and Jysal remain on the beach unaware that Kan-Gul the sorcerer has brought them here to take the young lady’s power in order to amplify his own; he deploys his shadow warrior undead hordes to destroy anyone in his path.

The first Shadow Warrior fantasy is an exciting ninja vs. zombie thriller. The fast-paced storyline deploys a teen slasher premise to eliminate the stranded one at a time rather than a swift deployment of magic or the horde. Readers will enjoy this opening act as the two remaining survivors fight for their lives against The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul.

Harriet Klausner

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