In the Shadow of Swords by Val Gunn

Why I Read It: Assassins and Legendary Books – Who could pass this up?

Where I Got It: Review copy from publisher (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: Need a fast-paced fantasy set in an medieval Arabic world? Then this is for you.

Narrator: Clive Catterall

Publisher: Iambik Audio (2011)

Length: 10 hours and 14 minutes

Series: Book 1 in series

This book was a treat, full of intrigue and the quest for vengeance. Val Gunn provided a lush background for his murderous spies and devious assassins to carry out their deeds. Marin isn’t just an accomplished tracker, spy, and sword-swinger, but also a grieving widow. She wants a man’s head on a spike, and not just any man’s. Hiril Altair has a djin curse upon him that makes it impossible to resist his master’s bidding. But he wasn’t bidden to fetch the Legendary Books of Promise. Tsk, tsk…..This sets up the story for lots of conflict, and sharp-tongued remarks tinged in dark humor.

In a world of ghuls and other demon-spawned beasties, these humans must muddle through for my entertainment. And I was indeed mightily entertained. In fact, when this book ended, I was tempted to give it another go. The sequel isn’t out there yet, which is a bit of a (calculated?) torture. The beasties were real beasties, slaughtering without concern for age or gender or armament. Some of the descriptive scenes of destruction and death really drove home the darker side of this tale.

Clive Catterall was the perfect voice for Hiril Altair, our main assassin, providing a somewhat gravely, world-weary voice. He also did a decent female voice for Marin. His character voices were distinct for each person. Just a note here: When I had a snag with an incomplete track, I contacted Iambik and it was fixed in less than 24 hours. Excellent customer service response.

What I Liked: Lots of action; a touch of horror; strong female character; not based in a European fantasy land; no one gets exactly what they want in the end.

What I Disliked: Only 1 main female character; I had a little trouble keeping the cast of characters straight as I had difficulty imagining how to spell some of the names.

I am counting this as a Dark Fantasy for Stainless Steel Droppings’ R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (which is a lot of fun and you can still play along if pop over there).

2 thoughts on “In the Shadow of Swords by Val Gunn”

Comments are always appreciated, so don't be shy!