I recently tweeted author Steven Montano (@Daezarkian) to let him know he’s ruined me for reading any other Dark Fantasy novels. Although I said it half-jokingly, the fact is it would be tough to find another author to match Mr. Montano’s vivid prose, imaginative plots, thrilling action sequences, and fully realized characters and settings.
Chain of Shadows, the sixth entry in Mr. Montano’s exceptional Blood Skies Series, might just be the best of them all. I had the pleasure of reading a copy provided by the author in return for an honest review. Although any of the Blood Skies books can be enjoyed on their own, to truly appreciate the depth of the world Mr. Montano has created you must read them all (links to my reviews are below).
The Black, a cataclysmic event where worlds and realities were violently fused together, introduced undead and alien creatures to our planet as well as magic, and most of the remaining humans have banded together under the flag of the Southern Claw.
Former warlock Eric Cross and witch Danica Black have battled the undead and the living, the real and the imagined, and somehow survived while many of their friends have fallen; but now they face the Maloj, shadowy wolf-like creatures of immense power that have leaked into our realm through a crack in reality.
Enroute to a meeting with the White Mother, an otherworldly being and the savior of humanity, after retreating from an encounter with the newly-arrived Maloj, Eric and Danica’s party — including former assassin Ronan, warlock Creasy and father-and-daughter Flint and Shiv — is transported to a devastated and isolated part of the World After The Black: Nezzek’duul.
Landing in the middle of a separate war between dark supernatural powers, the group fights for survival while trying to discover the reason for their summons to the desert known as the Chain of Shadows. And while they’re battling in Nezzek’duul, what horrors are the Maloj visiting upon the land of the Southern Claw?
That’s as much as I can say without spoiling the action-packed story. There is magic, swordplay and assault rifles, good versus evil, loves won and lost, new wonders and old enemies — all recounted in Mr. Montano’s rich, lyrical style. He’s created a wonderfully imaginative, dark, scary universe to tell tales about. And I for one will keep coming back for more.
For more information about Mr. Montano and his writing, visit his website, Blood Skies. For more of my thoughts on the Blood Skies series, see my reviews of The Witch’s Eye (Book 5), Crown of Ash (Book 4), Soulrazor (Book 3) and Black Scars (Book 2).