Stormheart: Legend by Edward Drake

I found this story a little odd to read. At first it reminded me of the raft of really poor D&D novels that have been released over the years, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t like that. Although this story is firmly in the fantasy genre it does count as a pulp story in my mind because of the writing style. It is like the author and editor decided that they wanted to boil down and distill the essence of a fantasy story and tell it in the most simple and yet intense manner possible. The story starts fast and never really slows down. There is no fuss or fluff anywhere.

Once I got past the fact that this was not going to be a long-winded story with a few fight scenes I started to really enjoy it. I couldn’t help but feel the story was familiar though. I thought I knew what the ending was after about ten pages. I was quite surprised when I was almost exactly right. I can only think that this story has at the very core of it some old morality tale or parable that I read in the dim and distant past. I’d be really interested to hear from anybody that has an idea where I know the basis of this story from. Or is it just so well written that I think I knew what was happening from the beginning but really it was being slowly fed to me?

The story itself follows a young man called Marek trying to make his way in life as an adventurer and sell-sword. He quickly picks up the name Stormheart from the bards that saw him fighting alone at the heart of a storm. Marek is a fearsome and seemingly invincible fighter that gains a fearsome reputation for killing and any all within his path. As his bloodlust grows ever stronger he begins to question himself. The inevitable  confrontation at the end of the story makes perfect sense. I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was fast-paced and very easy to read. Although different from the rest of the Anachron Press Pulp line it shares the same deceptive simplicity and the cover manages to put it squarely in the pulp world without losing the fantasy element.

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