Swords and sorcery in the style of Michael Moorcock, set in a time before the flood when rumors abound of the world’s imminent demise, Steven Shrewsbury’s Beginning of the Trail sees his ancient hero, Gorias La Gaul, facing deceptive priests with hidden weapons as he leads his merry band to a supposedly peaceful ceremony. La Gaul carries a valuable scroll, but perhaps the trapped queen’s life will prove of greater worth. Or perhaps true riches lie in the actions taken by women and men. If you’ve already read Overkill, this story will fill in its past with satisfying detail, and the overkill of a second death-dealing blow will be rife with portent. If you haven’t, I challenge you to finish this tale without wanting to read its sequel. La Gaul has classic hidden depths behind his what-you-see-is-what-you-get exterior, wounded hero with a secret past, skillful warrior awaiting his demise, womanizer with a gentle touch for all that he “think[s] very loudly” and graphically. As new gods’ altars are built on the wreckage of old and apocalypse looms, there’s honor behind the whoremonger and mystery ahead. Bloody battles, severed body parts, kidnapped daughters and more, Beginning of the Trail really is just the beginning, but it’s quite a trail and a thoroughly enjoyable tale.
Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the publisher to add to my growing La Gaul collection.
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