Sojourn #6: The Berserker's Tale
by Chuck Dixon, Greg Land (Checker, 2007)

Reprinting issues 31-34 and a prequel of the comic series, Sojourn, this collection of epic fantasy in the tradition of The Lord of the Rings has its heroes and heroines traveling to the land of the Iskani, a race of ice trolls, to confront a monster. Ultimately, their quest beyond defeating this creature is to find and destroy the undead sorcerer, Mordath, who threatens to once again conquer their world. Their cast of beautiful warriors and ugly monsters do so with the melodramatic flair of all well-written and well-drawn fantasy adventures.

What mean thee by "melodramatic," oh wise and verbose reviewer? Art thou being sarcastic in a pseudo-clever way? What, me? Pseudo-clever?

I meaneth, er, mean that most of the characters seem to poise heroically instead of stand, walk and lay about like real, dirty, exhausted soldiers, and often speak in grand phrases that would take Shakespeare some time to compose. As one example: "Many lifetimes since I have felt the sting of battle -- smelt the sour copper stench of blood in my own nostrils."

Yep, I used that "smelt the sour cooper stench of blood" just yesterday, while shaving.

Are you suggesting this book is not worth reading, oh sage reviewer? Nope. Every genre has its touchstones, its stylistic nuances that separate it from other genres. Epic fantasy needs big situations, big settings, big characters and big plots to be epic fantasy instead of say, a western or a situation comedy. So the only worthwhile question is: does Sojourn do it well? I'd say it does it very well indeed.

review by
Michael Vance

12 April 2008

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