A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was.
He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.
There was a woman.
There was a sword.
There was an end to sorrow.
Khraen walks the obsidian path.
If fantasy was a beer bottle, Black Stone Heart stuffs an old D&D tshirt inside to soak up the fluids, ignites and hurls itself at my Conan covered, teenage bedroom wall and awaits the inferno.
Written by Michael R Fletcher, the rightful owner of the crown of Grimdark. This book is not what I was expecting but the charcoal stains and the reek of evil that remains after the final page are well worth the smouldering and desperate crawl through hell to get there.
It is not a book about evil. It’s dark nature is more akin to the cask flavour of a good single malt; essential and indicative of it’s quality.
The plot begins as an amnesia riddled protagonist staggers towards survival in a brutal but relatable fantasy world.
A third of the way in and this book truly starts to rattle the bars of what a fantasy novel is. Not an entirely comfortable experience and not one that scratches the usual itches.
As Mr Fletcher smashes in the doors of perception at the halfway mark, and some kind of orientation begins to settle, (albeit a warped and morally omnivorous one) the plot gains new traction and we find ourselves on a levelled up retracing of our steps that starts to whisper of the unique, cyclic and dream-like quality of the whole affair and plants the reader firmly on the other side of the mirror looking in from the moral void.
Themes explored include: memory, purgatory, indulgence and the cyclic nature of conflict.
A dark and foreboding picture painted from a mesmerising spectrum of greys that will invade your dreams and expand your mind.
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