Book Review: Dark Crusade by Karl Edward Wagner

Another excellent Kane story by the brilliant Karl Edward Wagner.

Dark Crusade sees Kane gamble with his life and the fate of nations as he insinuates himself in a ruthless cult leader’s war of domination. But of course things are not as they seem, and Kane will have to deal with treachery, insanity, and loathsome eldritch forces that can perhaps turn even his steel-trap mind into whimpering putty.

This is another great Kane story from a master storyteller, featuring a sprawling and cinematic narrative that is nothing less than epic in scope. Although Wagner misses a few opportunities for dramatic tension here and there, Dark Crusade is entertaining from start to finish. Even the highly-detailed battle scenes and explorations of military logistics don’t seem to drag. The characters, with one unfortunate exception, are well-realized, compelling, and relatable. The climax is very strong, a masterful excursion into hallucinogenic horror. Though not quite as good as Bloodstone or stories like ‘Raven’s Eyrie’ or ‘The Dark Muse,’ this book is sure to delight fans of the Kane books, as well as fans of eldritch horror, dark fantasy, and gritty sword and sorcery in general.