Slavers of the Savage Catacombs
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.