Review of “Dark Crusade” Book II of “The Kane Trilogy” by Karl Edward Wagner


Kane, the cursed immortal; the reaver; the slayer; the mercenary; the brooding anti-hero has returned. He hears word of long-dead cult of a cruel demon god rising from the depths of darkness once again; the Cult of Sataki. Led by the mad, possessed prophet, Orted Ak-Ceddi, a fanatical crusade to plunge the antediluvian world into primordial darkness by bringing Sataki back into this plane of existence is spearheaded, and Orted’s first target is the Southern Kingdoms. Kane is tempted and drawn by the power of the insane prophet and becomes general of his army of darkness, but can he come to the realization of the peril he and the entire known world is in before it is too late?…..

Although I enjoyed this second installment in Karl Edward Wagner’s “Kane Trilogy,” it didn’t grab me like the first book, “Bloodstone” did and summarily took me longer to finish. Yes, it does have an interesting premise and plot, and yes, there are some exciting battle scenes, but not as much as I would have liked to have seen. Again, it has its moments, but the book’s potential seems to be partly drowned in the horrors that the Dark Crusade has perpetrated on the people it has conquered. It’s sort of a social commentary about religious fanaticism, and while that is all well and good, for a sword and sorcery/dark fantasy novel, I expected way more of battle scenes, magic, the supernatural and adventure. This novel seemed to be just lacking in several areas for me, and I was somewhat disappointed. Maybe “Bloodstone” amazed me and spoiled me so much that this second installment kind of let me down. Again, it had its moments and wasn’t a complete disappointment, but there are ways it could have been a lot better. Hopefully the third and final installment in the Kane Trilogy, “Darkness Weaves,” which I am now reading, will be closer to the greatness of the first installment. I give “Dark Crusade” by Karl Edward Wagner a 3.5 out of 5.




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