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[[ download Best ]] Dark CrusadeAuthor Karl Edward Wagner –

Burroughs had John Carter.Howard had Conan.Moorcock has Elric.Wagner had Kane THE Kane The one who was a son of Adam The one who strangled his brother, Able The one who claims Eve was his step mother therefore it s implied his mother was Lilith, the first wife of Adam He is cursed for creating the violence he brought upon humanity, in the form of murder, by a mad god He is cursed to immortality can only be destroyed by the violence he created almost dooming him to never meet his match He is an accomplished swordsman great sorcerer who walks the earth in search of some form of fulfillment to the empty void he feels inside His enemy is loneliness.Being a fan of the first three authors their characters mentioned at the beginning of this review, I had a conversation with a friend about dark fantasy He recommended Wagner s Kane to me since the character Elric closely resembled Wagner s cult character both are victims of their own actions both own up to their crimes without apology I decided to seek out the books of Kane found out they are pretty much out of print the used paperbacks I found were priced into the 20 to 100 range They are THAT rare So it was by chance that I found this book practically new, spine unbroken for it s actual cover price.I wasn t disappointed, but I also wasn t totally impressed It is a novel if I hadn t known anything about Kane, I probably wouldn t have given this novel the full attention that I did First off, Kane doesn t appear in the story until about a quarter to half way through the novel to most readers, this would anger them I, on the other hand, was struck by how good of a prose writer Wagner was especially for a self professed pulp writer I was able to ignore this fact.The story revolves around a poor, despondent man who is possessed by an ancient evil a demonic god to spread a cult around the deity through an unholy war His army consists of the poor, the sick the destitute who are brutally beaten down by the lords of their dark lands Kane, being ever the opportunist, offers his mercenary services to the new found prophet of doom as a general in their army.But wait, don t think Kane is a worshiper of the new cult He, behind their backs, laughs at their crusade seeks to exploit it to his own needs The Dark Prophet suspects this but doesn t know anything about this mysterious Kane, only legends even they do not reveal anything about the wizard swordsman to give him some sort of advantage over the murderous immortal Nevertheless, the Prophet accepts Kane for his prowess in war mongering with this alliance, he forges his own destruction.This is pure Dark Fantasy At it s best Yes no While I truly believe Wagner has created a great anti hero of the genre, I found something missing from the story Where most writers fail at character development, I believe Wagner fails at world development We are not given a full world that is tangible We know it s a fantasy world setting, but there is no focus to bring it into it s borders because it seems there are none Wagner is totally immersed in his character of Kane as well as the supporting casts of all his tales that they are like actors on a dimly lit stage Is this bad Actually, no The fact the characters are fully developed especially Kane lets the reader forgive the writer s transgressions to not fully realize the world Kane exists in Kane himself is Wagner s world it is a brutal one.The novels of Kane are good but I believe it s the short stories where Wagner s dark anti hero truly shines Check out the short story,Undertowin Wagner s collected tales of Kane in Night Winds you ll see what I mean. This is my fourth Kane book I ve been reading them in the order stated on wikipedia , and I find it amazing how fast he has climbed to the top of my favorite sword sorcery heroes list Not that his character is heroic by any loose definition, on the contrary he would be the Evil Overlord of most epics Death and destruction ride as ever by his side, and if in previous books the mayhem was somewhat limited in scope, The Dark Crusade deals it wholesale on a continent spawning scale The ancient cult of Sataki is resurrected in the city of Ingoldi and hundreds of thousands of fanatics recklessly swarm over neighboring kingdoms, aided by dark sorceries fed by the blood of cult s victims What others see as a reign of terror, Kane sees as an opportunity to escape the boredom of his centuries old depression and to forge his own grandiose empire So, he offers his expert military services to Orted Ak Ceddi, former outlaw and now prophet of the Sataki cult From forest trail to desert sea shore, flat steppe to marshy bog, lofty stone towers to moldy catacombs, Kane s journey is haunted by the ancient curse that was born in violence and can result only in violence.I found the writing uneven compared with previous Kane books, with moments of inspired prose and vivid imagery mixed with less convincing scenes, but overall this was a worthy addition to the series Most of my problems I believe came from the logistics of building up and moving around armies of hundreds of thousand of soldiers, with events and character development receiving a rushed treatment Sword and sorcery works better for me when it focuses on the personal struggles of doomed heroes, rather than the epics of world destruction The armed conflict scenes remain though one of the strongpoints of Karl Edward Wagner narrative involving heavy cavalry, archers, light infantry, city sieges and most of all Kane double wielding berserker whirlwind of sword and axe and feral brutality I loved the final scenes in the Tower of Islsl, despite the many loose ends involving secondary characters that made me think the author had a sequel in mind for this particular story I chose only one quote to illustrate the novel s gloomy and fatalistic toneGrovel, little clown Life spits in your tears I am already nostalgic about running out of Kane books to read After Dark Crusade there are only two short story collections left on my shelves If I ever get some wall space for fantasy posters, I think I will put up, side by side, Conan, Fafhrd the Grey Mouser and Kane Some of the original covers for the series are amazing. Today s fantasy authors are exceedingly adroit at creating new and fanciful worlds, convoluted and clever plots and huge casts of three dimensional characters Well, some of them are, at any rate.If, however, you re looking for something a bit visceral, something that will make you heady with the excitement of battle, black sorcery and unadulterated, uncompromising not to mention not necessarily politically correct thrills and spills you may want to backtrack a few years This is the sort of thing you ll be looking for Karl Edward Wagner s Kane novels There s than a little Robert E Howard in here, and some H.P Lovecraft as well However, Wagner does have a voice of his own, and it s a powerful one As an anti hero, Kane is everything your mother warned you against becoming considering that the character has roots in the Cain of the Bible I suppose that isn t too surprising This is cool, because frankly, we all should at least have one bad guy to root for And he is bad Quite so Dark Crusade is the first Kane novel I ve read It will not be the last It s dark and grim and violent and it has a Frank Frazetta cover, which captures the mood perfectly.Read this and be reminded why you read dark fantasy in the first place. There are bad blurbs for books then this one The Mystic Swordsman battles the prophet of an ancient cult of evil that began before the birth of Man. Not really or always Kane will use anything in his dreams of conquest power Of course, bending Kane to ends other than his own presents its own problems that s the setting for another great novel filled with horrific action, great characters, wild sorcery.This is the Centipede Press edition, not my old paperback, but both include In the Lair of Yslsl as the last chapter In Midnight Sun The Complete Stories of Kane this chapter is broken out as a separate short story I m reading it after Night Winds Bloodstone as I reread the series in these fantastic editions in chronological order As in the others, the artwork is great not the Frazetta of the original cover, although that s included, but a lot of other scenes It s unfortunate that one large one is spread across 2 pages so the center is lost in the binding, though See my review here for the full chronology Thoroughly enjoyable While in the vein of Conan the Barbarian, it is fortunately not a pastiche Wagner wisely distances himself from the original and creates a dark reflection of the Cimmerian While both characters are larger than life, Kane is driven by dark passions towards incomprehensible goals, and while capable of berzerk bloodlust, for the most part he regards the world with the clinical detachment of a man who has seen too much and lived entirely too long.He seems intent upon forging his own empire and ruling the world, though it is not clear why, except as a balm for his eternal ennui This goal is perpetually thwarted by circumstance, perhaps due to some tragic flaw in his character latent or atrophied moral sense, or the subconscious need to never end the struggle Events in the book range to the disturbing, though Wagner is painting the entirely realistic details of this brutal world He writes with a keen eye and style, keeping the action coming while also providing intrigue and motivation While the story turns around Kane, the other characters are interesting just don t get attached to them. In a dark world, the rules we generously apply to demarcate a hero from a villain in strictly generic terms do not necessarily apply It would be puerile to call Kane a hero since he has no attributes that one can ascribe to heroism Kane serves only himself and while we gain a brief glimpse into his motives, the ultimate objective eludes us always In a far and remote outpost of the planet, a wily bandit is possessed by an otherworldly entity who then proceeds to unleash an orgy of violence founded on religious frenzy Kane comes across this maelstrom and violence being his mainstay he gladly wades into this pool of muck Double and triple crosses, vengeance, lust and the quest for world domination all then follow to finally coalesce into a trippy climax.As a reader I find Kane to be slightly complicated than a stereotype He has grand machinations and yet makes mistakes that have serious repercussions, he is cursed with immortality and yet can be wounded gravely in battle, an accomplished sorcerer who still falls victim to his own spells etc Kane is a mix of the strong and vulnerable and similar to the first book I read of him Bloodstone , there is an element of tragedy that clings to the character Wagner chooses not explore this enigma further either and we are left to form our own impressions The other characters also derive fairly good attention but since only Kane continues from one book to the next, they disappear eventually over the course of the book It is another adventure in the never ending life of the wanderer called Kane While Bloodstone was about magic dueling with magic, Dark Crusade is about the heat and blood lust of hand to hand combat.Enjoyable and recommended. This is the first book I ve read by American fantasy and horror writer Karl Edward Wagner and it is part of his Kane series actually the fourth book about Kane.I first came across Wagner s name very recently, listed next to writers like Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber as someone who developed the sword and sorcery genre grown out of the early pulp magazines R E Howard s Conan being perhaps the most famous and almost archetypal example , and having read Wagner s work, I would agree that he certainly deserves to be mentioned next to those writers and in that particular context His prose style has a clear affinity with Howard s and other of the better pulp writers It s a vibrant and fitting style to the subject matter and gets the reader into the story quite easily.Yet, Wagner s stories like Moorcock s and Leiber s before him doesn t simply regurgitate sword and sorcery of the classical pulp school It lovingly reinvents it to some degrees What makes Wagner s approach extraordinary, to my mind at least, is his lack of focus on his hero of choice, i.e Kane Without checking, I am not at all sure if Kane is even in half of the book s chapter, let alone in a lead position in all of the chapters he is actually in In fact, both the prologue and the first chapter flies by without Kane s presence and when he is finally introduced a bit into the second chapter it still isn t to become the full lead As such, I would hesitate to call Kane the protagonist of this novel, just as I would hesitate to call him a hero for many other reasons.The story of the novel is about the rise of a dark power The vicious ancient god or devil Sataki is somehow incarnated in the rogue Orted who becomes his prophet Orted Ak Ceddi Under the prophet the priesthood of Sataki gathers a larger following and the dark crusade begins, a conquest aimed at all the known world And Kane Kane has his own ideas about the dark crusade and Orted Ak Ceddi.Well worth reading, especially for fans of sword and sorcery in general and Howard, Moorcock and Leiber in particular. Third last of Karl Edward Wagner s Kane novels and with rather less Kane than you might expect.As in the previous two novels Darkness Weaves Bloodstone , Kane is very explicitly Not a Good Guy He makes an alliance with in this case Ortak ak Ceddi, bandit leader turned prophet of a dark ancient god and leads the Dark Crusade on a path of conquest destruction through the southern kingdoms but both he and Ortak know that theirs is an entirely utilitarian alliance of convenience, to be broken as soon as one a thinks he no longer needs the other and b thinks he can take the other off guard.In this book, as mentioned, there s not a whole lot of on stage Kane most of the story focuses on either the people he betrayed before selling his sword to Ortak, or on Ortak and his fellow believers But the action remains fast bloody and the overall mood is suitably epic grim, in a 1970s Molly Hatchet album cover sort of way. I m travelin down the road and I m flirtin with disasterI ve got the pedal to the floor, my life is running fasterI m out of money, out of hope, it looks like self destructionWell, how much can we take with all of this corruptionWe re flirtin with disaster, y all know what I meanAnd the way we run our lives, it makes no sense to meI don t know about yourself or what you want to be, yeahWhen we gamble with our time, we choose our destinySo sings Southern rock legends Molly Hatchet I could not help thinking of this as I read Karl Edward Wagner s 1976 fantasy novel Dark Crusade, since both share cover art from Frank Frazetta This is one of his Kane books and the Knoxville, Tennessee native describes his hero as such His massive frame exuded an almost bestial strength The figure might have been of some great ape, clad in black leather trousers and sleeveless vest Ruthless intelligence showed in the brutal face, framed by nape length red hair and a beard like rust A red silk scarf encircled his thick neck, and belted across the barrel chest, the hilt of a Carlsultyal sword protruding over his right shoulder The savage blue eyes held a note in their stare that promised sudden carnage should that huge left hand reach for the hilt So of course this is a sophisticated work of quiet refinement, with subtle notes of deliciously wicked and irreverent humor.NOT.Wagner has evoked a Robert E Howard H.P Lovecraftian sopho kegger with all the subtlety of a monster truck rally.And those are the softer moments.Actually, in all fairness, Wagner is clearly a gifted writer with a haunting vision that is put to good use Like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Lee Van Cleef Wagner knows where his talent lies and where his bread is buttered and he plays to the audience that would pick up a book with a Frank Frazetta cover Wagner s scale and vision are far greater than would be expected from what s on the front and this is somewhat reminiscent of Michael Moorcock s fine work.Certainly not for everyone, but a lot of fun if you go for the sword and sorcery genre. KANEThe Mystic Swordsman Battles The Prophet Of An Ancient Cult Of Evil That Began Before The Birth Of ManOut Of The Blackness Of An Almost Forgotten Past, The Cruel Cult Of Sataki Has Come To Life Again A Daring Outlaw, Orted, Is Its Prophet He Draws Thousands Of Converts To His Dark Crusade TO DESTROY MANKINDOrted S Bloody Cohorts Conquer Shapeki, But When They Drive To Vanquish The Southern Kingdoms They Know They Must Have Kane Kane Is The One Man Who Can Command The Conquest But Kane S Battle Will Be Against All The Diabolic Forces Of Orted S Primeval Sorcery