The City Stained Red
“The heart of civilization is stained black.
The city of Cier’Djaal, made wealthy by the silk of its monstrous spiders, has become a rich man’s battleground. Thieves wage a war in the shadows of its alleys. The banners of foreign armies are raised behind its walls. Savage tribes seethe on its borders. And things ancient enough to be a God’s bad dream lurk beneath its streets.
Lenk came to put the violence of his adventurer’s past behind him and lay down his sword. But as ready as he is to let go of his blade, his blade’s not ready to let go of him. And with it, he’ll either save Cier’Djaal or destroy it.
Swords will be sharpened. Demons will rise. Cier’Djaal will bleed.”
When I first began reading SF and fantasy, back in the Dark Ages when I was a mere slip of a girl, one of the things I most loved about the genre was that often the tales simply engulfed the reader from page one, with no explanation of where one was or what mores to expect. I loved that sensation of sudden immersion and knowing that I knew nothing but had to trust the author to reveal as the tale unfolded.
City Stained Red does exactly that. From the very first page, I found myself frantically swimming in a very exotic environment, accompanied by some of the most reckless protagonists I've ever shared a point-of-view with. I swiftly learned that most of my assumptions about who they were and what they were up to were wrong.