THE STEEL REMAINS By Richard Morgan – Reviewed

THE STEEL REMAINS By Richard Morgan

Ringil is an aging hero, hiding out in the country years after his glorious victory at Gallows Gap which earned him a reputation that he’s living on, where he helped save the world from the scaled invasion of the lizardmen. He enjoys his life of drunkedness and having sex with boys. Your quintessential hero, sort of. But he’s given the task of finding his cousin, a job he can’t refuse as it’s his mother asking for the favour. So Ringil barges back into the city where his father rules, intent on making as much trouble as he can whilst visiting home, and goes in search of his cousin, slaughtering the slave peddlers as he goes (his cousin having been sold into slavery by a ruined husband).

There are a couple of others, a savage dragon-slayer whose brothers gang up with a shaman to depose him as clan leader, and a Kiraith, an ancient and alien race that fled from the world many years ago, leaving only Archeth the half-breed.

Ringil is really the hero here, although almost equal time is given to the other two. The story is fairly basic sword and sorcery, except that the sorcery is vaguely alien in nature and feels very SF in style.

Ringil is great fun, and he really should have taken a much larger part in the book. The other alien race, the dwenda, are strange and their world is weird, taking us away from the story to bring in a larger world invasion plot that is just an excuse for a big battle at the end. The dwenda don’t really fit, it feels like the SF elements are a bit forced.

This should have been an epic tale of brutality and debauchery, instead it’s finished fairly quickly, with the characters just about introduced. The sequel is already underway, and hopefully the second novel will see a lot more Ringil action.

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