Review: To Ride Hell’s Chasm, by Janny Wurts

The princess vanishes after her betrothed arrives for their marriage and everyone thinks she has been abducted when in reality she is fleeing for her life. Her only hope is Mykkael, the foreigner captain in command of the Lowergate garrison, but to some he is also the prime suspect – mainly based on his foreignness. The commander of the royal guard, and as such Mykkael’s commanding officer, feels he should trust the captain but is too bound by tradition and law to do so.
Mykkael on his part carries a heavy burden of guilt, a guilt which drives him to act in a way to draw suspicion, acting on his oath of loyalty to Sessalie’s king and not heeding command were he thinks it contrary to this oath.

To Ride Hell’s Chasm is a pageturner, even if the prose sometimes gets a bit dense, seamlessly intertwining discussions of racism, fear of the unknown, honour and ethics with good worldbuilding and strong characterisation.

I think it sad that such a good work is soiled by second rate craftsmanship when it comes to the book’s binding and production – usually I love looking at the maps that accompanies a book in the high fantasy genre but this time someone has sent low resolution placeholders to final print. The result is blurred, pixelated, artwork. A disgrace.

Anyone holding the book thinking of buy/not buy should look further than that – the tale is a good one, well worth the time it takes reading it. And strictly speaking – the maps are not needed to follow the story. Because Janny Wurts is real good at painting that picture in words, too.

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