Book Review: Darkness Weaves by Karl Edward Wagner

Red Kane returns!

Down on his luck and pursued by bounty hunters, Kane finds himself acting as a henchman for a vengeful sorceress. Will he serve her ambitious plans as a loyal minion, or once again try to slake his immortal ennui with the blood of the world?

This was the last Kane novel Wagner wrote, and it shows. The structure of the narrative is tighter, more balanced, more sophisticated. The climax is a masterfully staged confluence of treachery, betrayal, and chaos. The various characters are well-realized, as is their web of conflicting desires and alliances. Wagner’s refreshing nihilism is once more at work; no character is two-dimensionally evil, and even the supreme villainess of the piece emerges as a profoundly interesting and even somewhat sympathetic character. I have heard this book referred to as a ‘better version of Dark Crusade,’ and in some respects this statement is true. The two books have similar plots, and Darkness Weaves emerges as the superior of the two. Nevertheless, they are distinct enough, and good enough, that both of them deserve to be read.