Sung in Blood is a little known work penned by Glen Cook, the author of such amazing series as The Black Company and The Dread Empire, and it was written by Mr. Cook for dissemination at a convention he appeared at in the 1990s then published later in novel form. Truthfully, the book can be characterized as either a long novella or a very short novel, and while it has all the hallmark features of one of Cook’s traditional fantasy books, it lacks the usual complexity and polish. Be that as it may, Sung in Blood is still a rousing adventure, filled with interesting characters, classic Cook-esque magic, airships, and an urban setting. Well worth any fantasy reader’s time.
The tale itself focuses on the great city of Shasessrre and its empire, whose kings are overseen and guarded by the great and powerful Jerhke. The Protector, as Jerhke is called, is a great sorcerer, having lived for hundreds of years and ketp Shasessrre safe from its enemies by the use of a magical "web" that covers the city and allows him to monitor everyone within its confines and use it to power his great acts of sorcery. But in a couple hundred years, Jerhke has made more than a few enemies, and as the story begins, one of these adversaries accomplishes the unexpected and brutally murders the Protector!
Into the magical void steps Rider, son of Jerhke and his chosen successor to the mantel of Protector. Quickly, Rider and his group of trusted friends begin the frantic search for the murderer, battling against the agents of a mysterious foreigner called Kralj Odehnal. But as soon as Rider and his friends run to ground the vile assassin, they discover that his was only a small part of a greater scheme of terror; one which is so vast and so intricate that Rider wonders if even his father with the help of the "Web" could have foiled the plot of the deadly sorcerer who wishes to rule Shasessrre or destroy it!
All in all, this book was an old school pulp fiction adventure with a twisting, turning narrative filled with intrigue, magic, humor, and suspense. Sure, it is short, has minimum character development, and little world building, but even with those qualities, Cook delivers great action and even gets in a lot of witty dialogue like the following: "That's what I've been waiting for all my life. A chance to go one on one with a guy so bad he scares himself when he walks past a mirror." So like I mentioned earlier, any fantasy fan should give this one a try – especially if you like Glen Cook.