Paperback ☆ Dark Crusade Kindle ¼

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


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    Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane isTHEMAN Please Note when I say that I’m not alluding to the bulging crotch shot being thrust down on the viewer in the above photo That’s just the best image of Kane I could find and so I’d hope we can all be mature about this Thank you Among the icons of pulpy manwich sized death dealing sword jockeys no oneI will repeatNO ONE in the sword and sorcery genre is the equal in killing maiming and raising of ruckus as the immortal immoral immodest ingenious impeccableKane Now before all you Conan water carriers get all in a tizzy about that statement let me add the following1 The above statement should not be taken as a besmirching of Conan or his ability to sow death He is the Cromfather from whose loincloth all of the sword swinging standards including Kane sprung I love Howard’s Conan stories and they rank among my favorite in the genre 2 Science has spoken and the mathematical proof on the relative badassness between Kane and Conan was detailed Hereso there really is no sense arguing about any further In addition to Conan there are other testosterone loaded havoc unleashers that deserve mention Moorcock’s Elric is another favorite and easily wins the trophy for the best weapon remember we are being mature about this and also takes home the titles of clearly “Most Brooding” “Most Introspective” and the “Most White”I also love Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser However while they possess the necessary physical skills I don’t think they really belong in this club because besides being a duo and having to share the glory they’re too funny and whimsical to be part of this discussion John Carter and Tarl Cabot aka the Tarnsman of Gor were both disqualified from consideration The former because he’s a married family man and thus barred from performing the necessary wenching duties The latter because the Gor books suck ass and have no business being mentioned in this discussion so let’s just move on before this reviewer gets very upset remembering The Tarnsman Incident What makes Kane truly unique among the pantheon of the sword slashers in that he’s not even a decent enough person good to be an anti hero He’s an actual villain He’s evil ruthless and bent only on conquest and the fulfillment of his personal aims He doesn’t battle with his conscience and then occasionally and reluctantly give in to his darker impulses ala Elric He doesn’t follow a harsh but usually understandable code of barbarian justice like Conan Kane wants power He wants to rule the world He would kill you and your family to do it That is a badass A bad badass Add to that single minded “whatever it takes” mentality that Kane is 1000’s of years old and as brilliant and learned as that amount of time can make you Same goes for Individual combat and military tactics and strategy Finally he’s as cunning devious and silver tongued as the Devil himselfGamesetmatch Winner PLOT SUMMARYSo a former outlaw has been captured by the ancient cult of Sataki and turned into the avatar of their god a chaos loving demon whose ultimate aim is the annihilation of all life Now with the aid of its charismatic new prophet and the blackest of magic the cult’s army is growing as it rapes pillages and murders its way ever closer to capturing the southern kingdoms as the first step towards enslaving mankind However the massive but peasant comprised army have hit a stumbling block They are no match for the experience and skill of the south’s legendary calvary That isuntil they hire Kane to be the army’s general and forge for them a fighting force capable of winning on the field of battle Kane accepts the commissionbut only because he has plans of his own THOUGHTSKarl Edward Wagner died way too soon and wrote far too few Kane stories It is disheartening to realize that I have now read all 3 of the Kane novels and have only a handful of short stories left to enjoy This is some of the best work the genre has to offer Like Jack Vance Roger Zelazny and Michael Moorcock Wagner is able to cram an epic tale into less than 200 pages and leave the reader wanting but not feeling that anything was missing It’s a gift too few have nowadays For Kane Wagner created a world that is as rich and deep and full of wonder as any I’ve come across in the realm of sword and sorcery it’s shoulder to shoulder with Moorcock’s Eternal Champion stories Most of what we get are fragments or legend and snapshots of antiquity but they are so well drawn and fit so well together that the overall effect is informative Wagner combines variations on the best parts of Howard’s Hyborian Age Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborian Cycle to create a fictional history and a cosmology that truly dazzles All that said I didn’t love this one quite as strongly as I did Darkness Weaves and Bloodstone both of which I wanted to elope with The main reason is that the story was larger and broader in scope and consequently felt less intense and less personal than the previous two installments Still this is good good stuff and if you are a fan of the genre and have not experienced Kane before do so post haste 45 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED