Akin to the works of both Fritz Leiber and Scott Lynch but bringing it’s own energy and humorous vigour the writing of Sam Sykes sets itself apart from the dour feel of Grimdark fantasy and brings a fresh vigour to fantasy fiction.
In this sharp and darkly mysterious novel Lenk and his fellow adventurers must find their way through the silk-trading city of C’Jer Daal as demons and gods stalk the streets in a battle for dominion even as the thieves guilds go to war for their own petty ends.
Mixing wild magics, exciting swordplay, mystery and an irrestible, if scurrilous, sense of humour this is a hugely exciting new direction for fantasy. Full of adventure and extreme imagination it nevertheless manages to weave in a surprising subtlety and sensitivity in it’s characterisation.
Sam Sykes has crafted a splendid adventure story here, and I really had times where I could not put the book down and forced myself with eyes so tired to read one more chapter, and then another.
There's plenty of slapstick humour despite the darkness and that familiar sense of wondrous adventure that lurks just around the corner is still here. Still, "The City Stained Red" somehow fells like a better and more streamlined version of its predecessors....Sykes tells just enough to make you eager for more. Well, consider the job done - I'm ready for the sequel.
Upcoming 4 Me
Sam Skyes has been compared favorably to both Scott Lynch and Fritz Leiber, and its easy to see why...his work has an easy going charm that makes it very hard to put down and a lot of fun to read
It's a big story, grand on scale and packed with themes that range from the rich/poor divide to racial intolerance and simple greed. It's also a rollicking read, a ripping yarn spent in the company of desperate, damaged, yet ultimately sympathetic individuals. Sykes's love of his characters shines through in his writing, making The City Stained Red his finest book yet.
With playful language, distinctly drawn characters, and a cavalcade of action in service to a coherent plot, this book is a winner. I'll be reading the other books about Lenk and the gang while awaiting the next volume in the Bring Down Heaven trilogy
Bring Down Heaven