Kur’s Rage: The Duaredheim Staff Saga, Part One
by Erik D.J. O’Brien
Stratton Press

"And my story formed within their minds as my smoke drifted upon a draft of destiny all of its own."

In a world that combines Roman and Norse mythology, as well as original mythical places and beings, five war veterans are handpicked by their king to undertake a perilous but crucial task: scout out a possible uprising from the enemy Dragonians that could cause destruction in the king's realm. The five friends consist of a dwarf, the group's mighty former general, Kur, the pious warrioress Carmen, the gnome Kalor, and two half-elves, Leander and Dartin. This band of veterans fought together in the Jackal Wars and were reuniting at the One-Eyed Jack's tavern after five years apart when a mysterious mage propositioned them on the king's behalf. Promised riches for their expedition, the five set out on their journey. Interwoven throughout the group's travels and adventures to complete their orders are stories told by Kalor about the founders of the Duaredheim Staff, a magical object made by the gods.

The highlight of the book is the imagery the author creates. The battle and action scenes are described almost poetically, which can mesmerize readers and make them feel like they are part of the company's adventure. While these instances are beautifully written, more streamlined and specific worldbuilding could have made the universe that the author has created more understandable. The book is reminiscent of the Icelandic sagas in that while some of the tales told in it seem to be unrelated, characters reemerge in later tales and adventures, connecting them in the original saga. For example, readers might not initially see the importance of the story of Vlad and Darik, but by the last page, it will leave them satisfied. Any reader who enjoys sagas and epic fantasy books should read this book.

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