Review: The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp

In honor of Del Rey re-releasing Paul S. Kemp’s The Hammer and the Blade today I am re-posting my review of the original release here. You can find the new edition at your book seller of choice.

The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp

The Hammer and the Blade
Paul S. Kemp
Angry Robot, 2012

I haven’t read a lot of Forgotten Realms fiction, what I have read was typically from the setting’s creator Ed Greenwood or the ever-poular R. A. Salvatore but what I had read I enjoyed. But you can only take so much of a certain powerful wizard and a particular scimitar wielding dark elf before you grow a little weary. So, when I had heard buzz about Paul S. Kemp’s Erevis Cale books I decided to give it a shot. Kemp’s Twilight War series managed to not only tell an entertaining story full of action, adventure and magic but also managed to muse a bit about the nature of spirituality and faith. Kemp has primarily worked with in shared worlds moving from The Forgotten Realms to Star Wars but I’ve always wanted to read something of his that was wholly original. Now, with the release of The Hammer and the Blade that time has come.

Continue reading “Review: The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp”

Godborn by Paul S. Kemp

The Godborn by Paul S. Kemp | Wizards of the Coast, 2013

I feel like I buck the trend a bit in the world of Forgotten Realms fiction. Paul S. Kemp’s Erevis Cole is by far my favorite character and Kemp’s handle on dialogue is superb. The Godborn continues Wizards of the Coast’s Sundering event following Salvatores The Companions. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Companions as a novel, it felt far too transitory to make for a good stand alone read, and thankfully The Godborn doesn’t follow in that tradition. The Companions hinted and The Godborn confirms that the The Sundering is mostly a background tie-in that doesn’t really get expounded on in the plot. Indeed, in The Godborn the major event felt a bit more tertiary to the proceedings than even the previous novel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Kemp’s handle on characterization really brought to the needs and desires of his characters to the fore; a fact which definitely helped in getting things rolling.

Continue reading “Godborn by Paul S. Kemp”

Review: Shadowrealm by Paul S. Kemp


Paul S. Kemp

Wizards of the Coast, 2008

Shadowrealm  is the third and final volume of Paul S. Kemp’s excellent Twilight War series.  The deadly shadow storm rages accross the Sembian country side and Chosen of Mask Erevis Cale finds unlikely allies in his fight against Kesson Rel.   Kemp contines his trend of great action and strong character development here but the finale is unfortunatley marred by the nature of “shared universe” fiction.  Read on for more…

Continue reading “Review: Shadowrealm by Paul S. Kemp”

Review: Shadowstorm, Paul S. Kemp


Title: Shadowstorm (The Twilight War Book 2)
Author: Paul S. Kemp
Wizards of the Coast, 2007

I almost wish I hadn’t read this book. Almost, since I have to wait until September for Book 3. I hate to keep comparing Kemp’s work to other authors writing in the Realms…so I won’t. Instead I’ll say that the dark, bleak corner of Forgetton Realms carved out by Kemp reminds in tone and style of Glen Cook’s Black Company series. This is to his credit of course but Kemp has a voice all his own.  His easy managment of multiple perspectives, deft use of both 3rd and 1st person, and fascinating characters lets him stand nose to nose with some of the best fantasy writers out there.

My favorite character this time around was Abelar. His part in this story is almost a timeless one of keeping faith even in the darkest of time; but no less powerful fbecause of that. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone but I really felt for him and had a blast reading his sections. The plot gets more twisty here and, like The Empire Strikes Back, this is a novel much darker tone than the previous novel but lacks even the faint note of hope that ESB ends with. A fantastic second novel that is, in my opinion, better than the first.

Mr. Kemp I only hope that one day you found your own little corner of the fantasy universe because, as much as I do love the Forgotten Realms (and I really do), I’m anxious to see what you will do with a world wholly your own. Kudos, sir.

BTW: I noticed a link on to a site called Four Bit Stories and I just have to say that you had me at Lovecraft. Impressions later.

Pellet Review: Shadowbred, by Paul S Kemp


EDIT:  Apparently its taken about five months to realize that I mislabeled this as the wrong book.  Oops.


Paul S. Kemp

Wizards of the Coast, 2006

Drizzt who?  I haven’t read a “shared world” story in a while so it was a fun distraction jumping back into the realms again.  Kemp should not be surprised in finding himself catapulted amongst the “holy trinity” of realms authors (Cunningham, Salvatore, and Greenwood).  Indeed Kemp’s writing ability and handle on what it takes to make a story truly “epic,” in my opinion, far outclasses any of the other realms author’s I’ve read.  Erevis Cale is an interesting character that oozes cool found in a book rife with political and theological manipulation set before a background of grand scale.  Interesting villains, great action, and a fast paced quagmire of a plot make this the best Realms book I’ve read since The Halfling’s Gem.  Highly recommended for fans of both the Forgotten Realms and fantasy at large.