Sunday, April 18, 2021

recent read; MARK OF THE WITCHWYRM by Steve Van Samson

MARK OF THE WITCHWYRM by Steven Van Samson 

Rander Belmorn is far from home. He searches tirelessly for the one man who might be able to cure his dying son, but time is running out. The road has led to a frozen waste at the very edge of the world. But what this simple river man never learned on that long, lonely road was the answer to the last question. The only question.

How do you kill a witch?

The cover declares this story to be "a monstrous tale of Axes & Alchemy"--and that is exactly what Samson delivers. Belmorn is a different character than usually thrust into such tales. He's a blackfoot--a fisherman whose occupation involves harpooning giant eels and other beasts from a river so wide, none are sure what exists on the other side. Out in a world that becomes more alien to him the farther he travels, he encounters characters and places that are presented in ever-intriguing layers. A wandering alchemist, a bandit chief, a corrupt city guardsman, and a homeless waif. The "witch" in question is no old hag but a dragon who has laid waste a countryside. The world building is excellent and efficient. The reader is never bogged down by info dumps.

This story has a bit more optimism than I expected. I went in thinking it was 'grimdark'  but I would  declare it to be sword-&-sorcery. Though novel length, it hits all the notes; high personal stakes, and a fairly small cast of characters. Robert E. Howard with a bit more heart than darkness. Highly recommended!

If you feel like digging deeper in your wallet, you can order hardback edition(s) direct from Rough House Publishing.


  1. I started THE BONE EATER KING this evening and am liking what little I have read. I am going to add this one to the list when I'm done.