Jeff Salyards, Chains of the Heretic (2016)

The final book of trilogy I really enjoyed. It’s sad the story is concluded, but better to be left craving for more than finish a veery long series out of sheer tenacity, plagued by boredom and embarrassment. Fantasy should probably be written in trilogies or series of trilogies 😉

Spoiler alert! This book is very good 🙂

Four years since the publication of Bloodsounder’s Arc’s first instalment, Scourge of the Betrayer in 2012 we got a 509-page final story.


(I like the matte dust jacket a lot, and it’s easier to photograph than glossy jackets of volumes one and two…)

If you’ve read my review of the first two books and wonder whether to start the series or not – I’m happy to report Salyards delivers. It’s a complete story with satisfying conclusion to the major story arcs, with believable character growth of protagonists, and with a bitter-sweet ending that balances defeats and hopes, neither crushing my soul nor letting the heroes off easy.

So, in short – if you like solid military fantasy, epic when it needs to be, but self-contained and staying close to manageable amount of characters, innovative but not bizarre – it’s a great trilogy for you! Go read it.

Ok, so now with all the people not yet familiar with the first two-thirds of the series previously reviewed gone, I can go into details assuming reader’s familiarity with the basics of Salyard’s world. Still, no major spoilers.

Men are more easily broken than myths

claims the cover. And yet, some myths get broken here. Who exactly where the old Deserter Gods? What is the Godveil?

We follow our band of Syldoon brothers (and sisters) & their faithful scribe after their escape from Sunwrack to places.. predictable to an attentive reader, places we’re eager to explore, to reveal mysteries occupying our (and our protagonists’) minds since we started learning about them in Scourge of the Betrayer. Ancient gods, magic more powerful than anything Salyards gave us before, battles of increasing scale. No major surprises for me, but rather a satisfying, solid confirmation of my expectations. There is one major plot twist, and only the protagonists are shocked. Not being as genre-saavy as modern fantasy audience 😉 . My thought was: “well, of course, but what next?” and next was a grand battle and a new status quo that logically resulted from all we’ve learned previously and all the hard choices made by our favourite characters.

The prose is very good, the world is reach and intriguing, the characters we know and like – as complex and human as they were. Arki, Captain Killcoin, his sister and his lieutenants, each of them with a role to play and with his/her unique way of playing it. They supplement the story with some of the best dialogues I’ve read lately. Funny, descriptive and natural. Not the forced humour of many Butcher-imitating urban fantasy, thank Merlin.

I love how the religion of this world is explained. But most of all, I love the unique POV – a curious nerd, over his head in adventure more deadly and fascinating than all the stories he ever read, is someone we can all identify with. Let’s face it, transferred to a fantasy world we would not become Conans and probably not even Bilbos. But curious scribes? Probably 🙂

Score: 8,5/10

2 thoughts on “Jeff Salyards, Chains of the Heretic (2016)

  1. Wow, pretty strong recommendation in a field already filled with very powerful contenders and a handful of true literary masters. I will definitely read it one day, and probably quite soon – especially now that the entire trilogy is out and i won’t need to wait for the next book ;).


  2. Pingback: Michael J. Martinez, The Venusian Gambit (2015) | Re-enchantment Of The World

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