Ringil, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap is a legend to all who don’t know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteran of the wars against the lizards he makes a living from telling credulous travellers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire’s slave trade. Where he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives.
Archeth – pragmatist, cynic and engineer, the last of her race – is called from her work at the whim of the most powerful man in the Empire and sent to its farthest reaches to investigate a demonic incursion against the Empire’s borders.
Egar Dragonbane, steppe-nomad, one-time fighter for the Empire finds himself entangled in a small-town battle between common sense and religious fervour. But out in the wider world there is something on the move far more alien than any of his tribe’s petty gods.
Anti-social, anti-heroic, and decidedly irritated, all three of them are about to be sent unwillingly forth into a vicious, vigorous and thoroughly unsuspecting fantasy world. Called upon by an Empire that owes them everything and gave them nothing.
Richard Morgan brings his trademark visceral writing style, turbo-driven plotting and thought provoking characterisation to the fantasy genre and produces a landmark work with his first foray.
Review From Publishers Weekly
Noir SF author Morgan (Thirteen) delivers a promising but obscenity-laden epic fantasy trilogy opener. As the Yhelteth Empire recovers from a devastating war, embittered veterans Archeth, Egar and Ringil embark on parallel but vastly different journeys. The emperor sends drug-abusing Archeth to gather details about a rumored invasion. Egar becomes a steppes clanmaster, but the other horsemen despise him for seducing teenagers rather than leading. Ringil attempts to locate and free a cousin sold into slavery. All three soon discover the dwenda, a race of magical beings thought long dead. Despite stereotypical plot elements, including a prophecy that states A dark lord will rise, the well-developed characters and realistic battle scenes ring true, as do some gruesomely explicit sex scenes. The intriguing conclusion to the dark, gritty tale will have readers hoping for a more plot-heavy and less visceral sequel. (Jan.)
Review From Bookmarks Magazine
After reading his film noir take on the future in his science fiction novels, critics were eager to see how Richard Morgan would handle fantasy. In this respect, reviewers were pleased, noting how Morgan takes plot elements that are as old as those of Lord of the Rings or Conan the Barbarian and gives them a freshness by importing many of the themes that drove his sci-fi work. Several critics were a little disappointed by the pacing of the novel, though they seemed to find it more acceptable when they thought of the book as the first of a series. Every critic also warned readers that while they don’t detract from the overall quality of the work, many scenes from The Steel Remains contain an awful lot of explicit sex, violence, and harsh language. Perhaps such scenes are right up your alley …