Cantwell, Adam - Urx Quonox
I was unsure what this was about, but bought it on faith (after ascertaining it was not poetry).
Three florid, if harsh, tales of Grasm. Warrior, mercenary, barbarian, freelance blade.
Somewhat in the sword and sorcery genre, though there is little of the latter.
What there is, is frank carnality.
This ain’t Howard, this ain’t Leiber, and it ain’t p.c.
The first tale, “The Monarch In Disarray,” is the longest, and arguably the best.
A well strategized assassination hit. Deep in the bowels of the fortress, where an orgy is ongoing, has been ongoing for days, perhaps weeks.
The scene reeks of sweat, musk and semen, soured perfume and spilled wine.
Once the hour falls, the flash of steel, followed hotly by blood madness.
“Cities Below The Strand” pales in comparison. Too short, barely more than a sketch. To be blunt, it lacks substance.
Better by far, “Scream Of The Blue Jay,” finds Grasm in a prison cell or hospital ward, weak and utterly fatigued.
For better or worse (for Grasm), his hearing works fine, and he endures a nonstop babble from the other man in his chamber.
The man vents a stream, lamenting position lost, seething jealousy, retribution.
One wonders how much is madness, how much is delusion, how much is rage.
All of these are wrought in Cantwell’s rolling style. Two are standout efforts.
Blood and sinew, best suited to palates of tainted tastes.