Tor, Aug 2008, $24.95
In the village of Orlkettle, Orivon Firefist works day and night at the forge because it gave him pleasure to be his own boss at a place where he can see the sky and the grass. When he was six years old, he was stolen from his parents in a Nilfghar (dark elves) raid and brought to the Dark Below where he was a slave for a decade and a half to a wealthy noble family, who tortured him in an attempt to break his spirit; they never did. The daughter helped him escape her parents’ cruelty.
Now the dark elves have raided Orlkettle and kidnapped four children. Orivon knows first hand the fate that awaits these innocents and vows to rescue them or die trying. However, he is entering a world that has radically changed beyond recognition. The realm of Talonnorn that was the rival of Ouvahlor is in rapid decline from without and within; as nobles fight their peers and the Consecrated fight each other. As Orivon makes his way to Talonnorn he fights and kills beasts and dark elves, determined to free the city as he searches for the children.
DARK VENGEANCE is a dark quest fantasy that focuses on a culture that lives below the ground with its own peculiar values and customs (mindful of the Time Machine’s Morlocks) different from humans who live in the Blinding Light. The hero knows torture first hand having lived through the brutal abuse almost daily for years; yet overall he is a well balanced person though he has some issues sleeping and prefers light to night. He loathes killing, but will do so to save the kids from what he faced. Obviously readers know but will not care that Orivon is out of his league as he is not a warrior. That is the beauty of Ed Greenwood’s tale as he makes the blacksmith’s never again obsession the impetus to turn an ordinary person into a superhero “willing to march into hell for that heavenly cause”.