The Kobalos Trilogy by Ty Johnston
|Book Name:||City of Rogues, Road to Wrath, and Dark King of the North|
|Release Date:||June 17, 2009|
Kron Darkbow seeks vengeance, and he plans to have it no matter the costs. Returning to the city of his birth after 15 years, he hunts down the wizard responsible for the deaths of those he loved only to find out another was responsible for the murders. That other is Belgad the Liar, a former barbarian chieftain, who is now boss of the city’s underworld.
Following his path for blood, Kron comes across the magical healer, Randall Tendbones, and accidentally reveals Randall’s darkest secret to the world. It’s a secret about the past, a secret that has kept Randall on the run for three years. Now it has caught up with him, and Belgad the Liar is suddenly the least of Randall and Kron’s concerns. The gaze of Lord Verkain, king of the dark northern land of Kobalos, has fallen upon Kron and Randall. And it is a gaze filled with madness.
City of Rogues is a dark action/adventure epic fantasy novel in the tradition of David Gemmell and Glenn Cook.
It is Book One of The Kobalos Trilogy.
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Greetings, Faction readers! I don’t know about you, but this weekend I came down with a dread disease. This terrible affliction drains you of all ambition, and forces you to sit in front of your PC (or console, if you are one of those people) until your eyes resemble that of an albino cavefish. Of course, I refer to the ‘Skyrim Flu’ that spread rapidly throughout the populace.
This does not mean I’ve neglected my duties to you dear readers (looks nervously in the Overlord’s direction). This week I would like to share some thoughts on a little known, but entertaining fantasy trilogy I discovered whilst perusing my kindle. The Kobalos Trilogy by Ty Johnston, is a fairly standard but intriguing dark fantasy that retails for about a buck for each ebook and delivers a fine return on your meager investment.
The story begins in City of Rogues and follows Kron Darkbow, who serves as protagonist of sorts for the story. Out for revenge, he seeks to destroy the criminal empire of the barbaric Belgad the Liar, the de facto antagonist. ‘De facto’ because Darkbow isn’t much of a hero in the traditional sense; he perceives himself as hero, but many of his deeds are quite the opposite. Belgad, in turn, displays a sense of honor and fairness at times, which makes it hard to view him as a true villain.
What made the story interesting for me was the murky nature of right and wrong. I found myself at times rooting for and against both men, as Johnston does an excellent job of illustrating the motivations of each and allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. By the end of the book all we know is both men hate each other for wrongs real, and imagined, with neither being firmly established as hero or villain, nor even as winner or loser.
In book two, Road to Wrath, the story takes a more standard turn, as a genuine villain is introduced, with the requisite epic quest to stop him. Sadly the series never maintains the taut appeal of the first book, and despite a few clever twists and turns, the series becomes a bit too cut-and-paste towards the end of book three, Dark King of the North.
Johnston is also known as a horror writer, and his talents there serve him well in some of the darker aspects of the story. The last third of the second book in particular, is quite chilling and was difficult to read at times. The violence is pretty harsh, and as many of you will remember, that sort of thing is not exactly my cup of tea!
Despite my disappointment with the resolution, I did enjoy my journey through the land of Kobalos, as Johnston has a real talent for creating interesting characters, and my interest in them was more than enough to carry me through to the end. The Kobalos Trilogy, while not winning an awards for originality, is still a fine read at the price, and well worth checking out!
And so again I must leave you, Faction Readers, and continue treating my ‘illness’ before it spirals (even further) out of control. I will speak to you again soon, and I thank you, as always, for reading my humble opinions!