The Malificent Seven by Cameron Johnston
The Malificent Seven
About The Book
When you are all out of heroes, all that’s left are the villains.
Herran was a dread demonologist, and the most ruthless general in all
Essoran. She assembled the six most fearsome warriors to captain her
armies: a necromancer, a vampire lord, a demigod, an orcish warleader, a
pirate queen, and a twisted alchemist. Together they brought the whole
continent to its knees… Until the day she abandoned her army, on the eve
of total victory.
40 years later, she must bring her former
captains back together for one final stand, in the small town of
Tarnbrooke – the last bastion against a fanatical new enemy tearing
through the land, intent on finishing the job Black Herran started years
Seven bloodthirsty monsters. One town. Their last hope.
The village of Tarnbrooke needs a hero, well seven to be exact. However, all they have are villains, and it is up to them to stop the fanatically religious Lucent Empire crushing the known world and converting everyone (and I use that term loosely, very loosely!) to their new god.
Welcome to the world of The Malificent Seven where the bad guys are monsters and the good guys are worse.
In Cameron Johnston's new book, the story starts on the eve of Black Herran's victory to become overlord of everything. We are not quite sure who she is fighting, but one thing that we are certain of is the fact that this ain't no ordinary fantasy book. For one, the main hero (and again, I use that term lossely, in fact looser than before) is a demon summoning sorceror who will happily feed her enemy's souls to her pet demons and laugh gleefully as she watches them chow down on their flesh, and commands an army of similarly well adjusted, nice to puppy dogs army of reprobates. Except not everything is what it seems! As, just as she is assured her imminent victory, Black Herran gets a serious attack of the feels when she discovers she is bringing an innocent into this world and decides that fek this and the demon lord she has sold her soul to, that she's off to live a life of domesticity in the village of Tarnbrooke.
And as if on cue, say hello to the bad guys. An army of religious zealots called the Lucent Empire, who are quite happy to throw the inhabitants of who they meet, off cliffs in order to see if their God will save them, in order to prove their piety.
Upon discovering that the said Lucent Empire is on it's way to the place that she calls home, Dahlia, the once dread Black Herran, who is happily living that life of domesticity and is not having any of this rubbish, decides that in order to stop the jumped up little zealots ripping her life away, she must revert back to what she does best. Cold heartedly tearing apart, limb from limb, anyone who stands in her way.
And as the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the stone hearted killer, but you can't take the stone hearted killer out of the girl!
With that, Black Herran happily blackmails her old general, the necromancer Maevan into gathering her other old generals together so that they can make a stand and send the tyrannical Lucent Empire off on its merry way with its tail between its legs, or probably worse.(I wouldn't like to think where they would shove the tail actually!)
After a little bit of arjee bargee, and much effing and jeffing, Maevan agrees to Black Herran's demands and happily hops, skips and murders her way across the continent getting the Scooby gang back together again.
What ensues is a fun gore filled romp as we meet and greet the gang. Amogg the Orc, Verena the Pirate Queen, Lord Lorimer Felle - the shape changing, human eating vampire, Tiarnach - the drunken ex war god and Jerak Hayden - the mad Alchemist.
Everything is turned up to eleven in The Maleficent Seven, the gore, the fighting , the characters and the bad guys and I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. The book is filled with sly humour and blood soaked action.
The characters are well developed, each one having a reason not to like or trust their comrade in arms, and each gets their five minutes in the spotlight. Obviously, Lorimer the vampire stands out as both he and Maevan have the largest role in this ensemble cast of monstrous beings, but each of the other characters are well rounded enough to provide the support to shore up the story.
Add to that Cameron Johnston's ability to write cinematic action sequences and your on to a winner.
However, to round the book off you need a story that is going have shoulders big enough to carry this lot, and again Cameron Johnston provides that and does it well. It would have been very easy for the idea to run out of steam at some point. However, Cameron Johnston deftly keeps the pacing, story, action sequences and character development at just the right tempo to keep the book moving along at an enjoyable and engaging level.
So, get yourself in gear, crank up the music and join Black Herran screaming her favourite tune " Hellrath ain' t a bad place to be" and let battle commence.
Thank you to Netgalley and Angry Robot publishing for letting me read this book.
The Malificent Seven by Cameron Johnston will be released August 10th by Angry Robot Books