Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs - the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.
Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world - a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis.
Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear - the doom written for him, and the entire world.
©2010 ChiZine Publications (P)2012 Iambik Audio Inc.
"(A) boundary-busting horror-fantasy debut.... fully delivers both sizzling passions and dark chills." (Publishers Weekly)
"Files' poetic prose is pitch-perfect: languid, precise and full of dark imagery..." (Justine Warwick, Rue Morgue #102)
"Gangs of New York rubs against the cross-genre cheek of True Blood, mashed with a healthy dollop pf J.R.R. Tolkien by way of a dusty, mud- and semen-caked Deadwood... truly one-of-a-kind, violent, carnal and creepy." (Fangoria)
"Promises a lot but fails to deliver"
I disliked this book so much I returned it to Audible, the first time I have done that in over a year's membership of happy listening. I read reviews for Gemma Files' first Hexslinger book and it sounded right up my alley, violent Deadwood style Western, with dark, fantasy elements and the promise of sexy gay romance. Well, I was confused, disappointed and frustrated. Half the time I didn't have a clue what was going on, nor did I care much to be honest. I skimmed through chunks...all the 'supernatural shenanigans' (main character Rook's words not mine). The triangle relationship between the male leads did get my attention but that's only a small part of the story. The characters are underdeveloped, and there is just too much mumbo jumbo magic and exposition. The final annoyance is its lack of a proper ending, what you get instead is set-up for the sequel (which I have no interest in reading). I have read much better developed and more satisfying fan fiction published free on the internet, and in fact would not be at all surprised to learn this series has its origins there. At least the narration is well done.
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