Solid, Gritty Fantasy: Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

“Arkamondos has been making a decent living as a scribe. He writes letters, keeps ledgers for merchants, and generally takes any scribing work that pays the bills, even though most of it is utterly boring. When he has the option to become the embedded record keeper for a band of Syldoon soldiers, it seems like an opportunity to do something meaningful and exciting, something that will leave a mark on this world, but once he takes the job, he quickly learns that, along with that excitement, he will also experience a great deal of misery and danger….

Jeff Salyards’ debut novel Scourge of the Betrayer jumped out at me for two reasons. First of all, I’ve learned to pay careful attention to the many debuts Night Shade Books has been releasing over the last few years, because it’s abundantly clear that someone there has an amazing nose for promising new authors. Secondly, I love the idea of a record keeper or historian as the main narrator of a story. It’s obviously nothing new — see also: Croaker in Glen Cook’s Black Company novels or Duiker in Steven Erikson’s Malazan novels — but then again, it’s merely a starting point that allows lots of variation, and as a starting point it’s a promising one that hasn’t been completely over-used yet.” Read more at