My review of A Curse Upon the Saints by J. Rutger Madison for KBR

NOTE: The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.

As a Mississippi sf/f author, I am perhaps biased by my delight at finding another one. This was only the first thing to delight me about Madison’s book. A Curse Upon the Saints is a dark, rugged fantasy, the first block of book laid down for an edifice of epic. This is a world shattered by religious war and interspecies rivalries. The vicious goat-men who appear in the first pages of the novel, the Sarbarah, are demonically cruel, but not entirely without honor or tenderness. The most appealing of the protagonists – a lawyer, of all people, who is enslaved by an invading army of Sarbarah – is allowed to survive because he happens to play the flute. Through his patience and cunning, he manages to purvey this tiny influence into a perilous position of power.

The author cheerfully acknowledges the influence of George R.R. Martin in this sprawling work. The depth of intrigue and worldbuilding make this the same kind of addictive setting as Westeros. The dialogue could have used some polishing, and the various sniping factions are often confusing, but this is not enough to keep one from turning the pages. I would give this 4 1/2 stars if I could, and I look forward to seeing more.