Review: Rage of the Behemoth anthology by Rogue Blades

Review: Rage of the Behemoth

“By Sword and Sorcery,” she says, “you mean those books where some barbarian guy with a bloody ax is standing on a hill and there’s a half-naked woman with huge breasts at his feet?” ~John O’Neill, forward to Rage of the Behemoth.

Published by Rogue Blade’s Entertainment, Rage of the Behemoth is a handsome trade paperback with lovely black and white illustrations. Featuring work by Lois Tilton, C.L. Werner and Brian Ruckley, it combines the best of beast tales with rollicking sword and sorcery.

There are 21 stories in the anthology, and as many unique monsters and heroes. Organized by Mountain, Sea, Desert, Swamp, Frozen Wastes and Jungle, Rage of the Behemoth covers a wide variety of beasts, and the men and women who encounter them. Some are villains and monsters, others are surprisingly self-aware and sympathetic.

Rage of the Behemoth is classic Sword and Sorcery, complete with the triumphs and pitfalls of the genre. It is a quick, enticing read with remarkably consistent quality. Some of the stories would, most likely, have benefited from expansion, but the overall quality is high.

Highlights of the anthology include the last collaboration from Richard K. Lyon and Andrew Offut in Portrait of a Behemoth, The Wolf of Winter by Bill Ward, Black Diamond Sands by Lois Tilton, and Vasily and the Beast Gods, by David Robichaud.

Portrait of a Behemoth, the first story in the book, is possibly the best example of modern Sword and Sorcery in the collection. Funny, light and irreverent, it offers a lovely blend of elements that keep the pages turning.

The real strength of the collection is in its portrayal of men as fallible, monsters as sympathetic, and humanity in all its shame and strength. Rage of the Behemoth is about as far from the recent, often-parodied excuse for Sword and Sorcery as it can be and still be listed in the same genre. As stated in the forward, this is a return to the Sword and Sorcery of Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell.

Rage of the Behemoth is a wonderful reintroduction to a genre that is too often caricatured and laughed off. Anyone looking for an introduction to Sword and Sorcery has an excellent collection here.

Keep an eye out for the forthcoming titles from Rogue Blades Entertainment!

ISBN: 0982053622
$16.99/TP/354 pages
Limited Edition Cover Numbered: $20.00
June 2009

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