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Book Review

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Blood of an Exile


Author: Brian Naslund
Publisher: Tor
500 pages
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 529016147
Publication Date: 05 March 2020

In a world festooned with dragons, the job of a dragon slayer is not one which any choose to fulfil. This is a job that many are condemned to do, knowing that the guilty man is not likely to last past one or two encounters. Bershad is different. Having killed many dragons, he continues to survive his encounters with the beasts, seemingly invincible...

Blood of an Exile (500 pages) is the first book in a new series by first time novelist, Brian Naslund and is fairly standard fantasy fare with a few nice touches of its own.

Slightly unusual, in a fantasy book, is Naslund’s rational for the dragons. Normally, stories which include dragons just have them as large predators, I cannot remember reading a story which integrates the creatures into the whole eco system, throwing into question the sense of trying to eradicate a species, without considering the overall consequences.

The book is told from mostly two perspectives. The first is that of Bershad, once a lord, he has fallen from grace and has been tattooed and condemned to a life as a dragon slayer. Like Quixote, he too has a donkey and a companion, Rowan.

The trio are summonsed to appear before the King, the self-same King who had Bershad condemned to be a dragon slayer. Although he is tempted to kill the king on sight, the intervention of Ashlyn, the king's daughter, Bershad’s one time lover and our second important POV character stays his hand long enough to be offered his freedom.

For Bershad freedom comes at a price, he must rescues the king’s younger daughter and kill the ruler of Balaria, so far, so average quest. It does end up pretty much as a road movie for Bershad, as he is saddled with companions he never wanted to travel to a land he doesn’t want to visit. It’s a fairly average quest, which allows Naslund to work on the world building.

The world of the novel is interesting, in the fact that the author has presented both the usual overused trope of a semi medieval world, but also a more technological society, it may be interesting to see where these diverse elements will lead the story.

So, an interesting first novel, which mixes old tropes with some new ideas.


Charles Packer

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