Title: The Hound of Hell, Book One
Author: Rory D. Nelson
Genre: Action-adventure / Fantasy / Dark fantasy
In The Hound of Hell, author Rory D. Nelson has created an adventure-packed fantasy world that combines Arthurian legend with a steampunk version of the Wild West. Centuries after the reign of the medieval king and his knights, an organization called the Brotherhood carries on the objective of righting wrongs and saving lives. The connection between the past, with its swordplay, and the old West with guns drawn, is an interesting juxtaposition of time periods, allowing the characters to use a plethora of methods to accomplish their goals.
The primary goal of this story is for the main character, a devout and deadly assassin from the Brotherhood, to complete a dangerous rescue mission. When he is betrayed, the mission and his very life are in jeopardy. The author does an admirable job of guiding the reader through the twists and turns of this storyline. You must pay attention, however, to keep up. The pacing is quick, which is appropriate for action-adventure and fantasy.
There are some insights into the characters’ personalities: revealing moments where we get to know them personally, outside of fighting. Nelson has provided us with a few scenes of intimacy and even humor, which allows us to connect even more deeply with his characters. We end up pulling for the mission to succeed, because we’re invested in the people involved.
Because we become invested in the characters, one impediment to reading may be the brevity of the book, at 145 pages long. More scenes where we get to better know the characters would be appropriate, which would bring the book up to an average length. The compelling plot and good writing merit more material. Considering this is book one of a series, hopefully the next installment will fill that void. The world Nelson has created lends itself to a continuing saga.
Still, this book will be of interest to anyone who likes good fantasy and relentless adventure. It is far from an average read and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.
One note of caution: This is not a book for the faint of heart. It contains brutal fighting scenes. The author’s descriptions are brief but graphic. Therefore, dark fantasy is an appropriate genre label for this book.
On the other hand, non-fighting scenes are also clearly described, putting the reader in the time and place of the story. We can easily visualize all of the settings, the bloody and the beautiful. The vivid descriptions make us feel as if we’ve landed in the middle of a group of crusading cowboy knights who will stop at nothing to make sure their brand of justice prevails.
In The Hound of Hell, Book One, author Rory D. Nelson has given fantasy and action-adventure fans a lofty addition to their collections of dare-devil, fight-for-right, no-holds-barred reading materials. You will become hooked, looking forward to the next installment of this series that joins together Arthurian legend and Wild West action in steampunk fashion. Fast-paced and unforgettable, The Hound of Hell is one hell of a read.
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