Count Endithor is a noble in the city of Shadizar The Wicked in Zamora. He is caught conducting a human sacrifice ritual to eliminate his rivals. His rivals set him up and now use this to have Endithor executed in a publicly painful manner. His daughter doesn’t take this well and starts to study the dark arts to get revenge on Count Nalor. Nalor is allied with Lord Kus who is secretly an ancient vampire. Into this dispute is Red Sonja who is just trying to relax between mercenary jobs. Her friend Sendes works for Nalor. One day Endithor’s daughter mesmerizes him into trying to kill his employer Nalor. It fails forcing him to flee for his life. He seeks out his friend Sonja for help. Now Sonja finds herself in the middle of this war between an ancient vampire and a vengeful daughter. To make it worse the vampire Kus has an infatuation with Sonja and plans to make her his undead slave. She must now survive without becoming a vampire herself.
The fourth book in the series is another strong entry. It shifts the action to a new location with new evil magical foes. These two authors have been good in making every new book fresh and not seem like a rehash of the last one. Sonja once again proves herself capable of taking on a much superior magical foe and using her wits to defeat them. Another excellent book in the Red Sonja series.
Os Harku is a penal colony island on the Shirki river in Aquilonia. Here the worst murders, thieves and other assorted scum are dumped to live out their lives. A Shemite wizard finds an ancient site of the old gods and makes a pact with them. In exchange for his loyalty they give him immense powers. Powers he uses to call up a storm and bring to shore a passing barge. The barge happens to have Red Sonja as a passenger. Soon she finds herself on an adventure with other various people to survive the criminals attempt at escape. Also she must defeat the evil sorcerer Athu so his evil is not released on the world.
These Red Sonja books just get better and better as they progress. I think the authors were channeling their inner John Carpenter. The penal colony sounds a lot like Manhattan in Escape from New York. Once again the authors deliver a fast paced story with an assemble cast of characters both good and bad. There is also a strong supernatural villain with powers from the elder gods. Those elder gods are some nasty dudes. Its up to Sonja to once again take charge and kick ass.
So I am back from my vacation and hope to get back into my normal routine.
Red Sonja is serving as a mercenary in a garrison at the Zamoran border. One night the captain is murdered and the real murderer accuses Sonja of the crime. So she is forced to flee into the desert. Sonja comes on a small city-state called Elkad. Right away the place gives off a bad vibe what with the corpses of young women hanging from the gate. Seems this city makes regular sacrifices of young maidens to appease the Earth-folk. Soon the newly promoted Captain Kelkum the real murderer arrives with troops. He desires Sonja and has become obsessed with possessing her. Soon Sonja flees into the desert and meets the mysterious sorcerer Saureb. She finds out that Elkad will soon pay for its crimes as the stars are aligning and the Earth-folk will come to destroy the city.
So the second book in the series is another strong entry. Once again a strong supernatural presence with sorcery. Only this time the sorcerer turns out to be a good guy. There is plenty of action as the various factions in the city and the newly arrived Zamorans fight it out. It ends with a big epic destruction of Elkad. Smith and Tierney show that they have an understanding of the character and can write some engaging stories. These are true gems of sword and sorcery.
Sonja is in Koth at a tavern enjoying some ale when a young man comes in looking for mercenaries. His Lord Olin needs to retake his city-state of Suthad from the wizard Asroth. She decide the gold is good and signs up. She finds herself in the army of Lord Olin and soon into the fight against sorcery. First its a horde of flying demons. Then they reach Suthad and find it devastated and have to fight tentacles that come out of the ground. At Suthad Sonja finds what the wizard Asroth was looking for The Ring of Ikribu. A ring that was created by the dark god Ikribu and could give the wizard power to rule the world. So she continues on in Olin’s army and fights zombies, the cult of Ikribu which wants the ring to stop Asroth and Duke Pelides. The mysterious Pelides once was a servant of Asroth until he failed him and was cursed with a deformed face. Now he seeks revenge and will crush anyone who gets in his way. Along the way Sonja falls in love with Olin which ends tragically. It ends with a final confrontation at Asroth’s castle.
So this is the first of six books that were written about Red Sonja. There is a forward by Roy Thomas the creator of the character. An obscure character from a historical story by Robert E. Howard, Thomas adopted it into the Hyborian age to give Conan a strong female companion to encounter for adventures. She managed to move on to her own series which you can read about on my comic blog.
So the book is an excellent read. The story is full of interesting characters that you come to care for. The writers stay true to the character created in the comics. It has plenty of sorcery and action. I read that the authors created a screenplay hoping it would be used for the upcoming movie that was planned. You couldn’t go wrong in using it. If they used it for the movie that was made it probably would have been better remembered. I still hear talk of a new movie in development. They might want to consider seeking out this script.