Welcome to another guest post spot here on Always Trust In Books. Today I have Richard S Ford here to talk about his top five favourite fantasy villains. It is definitely worth a read but be careful because if your TBR list is already strained then you will absolutely be adding these books to that very list. R.S Ford is releasing his second book in the War Of The Archons this week, Hangman’s Gate. I unfortunately missed the first instalment of the series, A Demon In Silver, but I am eager to catch up and this series comes highly recommended by Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek and he is a great source for solid fantasy reads. Enjoy the guest post and check out Hangman’s Gate which is out today!
18.06.19 / Titan Books / Fantasy / Paperback / 416pp / 978-1785653094
About Hangman’s Gate
After uniting the bandit clans, the Iron Tusk has swept into Shengen and taken control of the empire. With an army behind him, he marches along the Skull Road, ready to lay waste to the lands in the west. The mountain fortress of Dunrun and its rag-tag defenders are all that stand in his way.
With their country besieged on all sides, troubling rumours of a priestess amassing power in the north, and unnatural alliances to the south, no help is coming. Alone, they must hold back the inhuman powers of the Iron Tusk, or see life as they know it come to an end.
The old gods have returned…
R.S Ford Guest Post: My Top Five Fantasy Book Villains
I got to thinking about character recently: what makes a good one? What makes a bad one? And essentially, I came to the conclusion that I could write a book on the subject (and some people have). So rather than go into my thoughts on the matter, I thought I’d make a little list of my favourite fantasy villains. Not the dark lords and the big bads, but the more nuanced characters. The ones that jump out as being real, the ones who might almost have been heroes if they’d taken a slightly different path. Warning – contains some spoilers for the series mentioned.
Black Dow – Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Series
“They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter.” A bold claim, but it’s not far from the truth. Black Dow starts off as an ally of Logen Ninefingers, who himself is something of the anti-hero. He’s a gruff and savage Northman who doesn’t think twice about burying an axe into someone’s head if it will get him what he wants. But there’s much more to him than that, demonstrated during a rare moment of introspection when Dow tells how he started off as a simple potter, a life he regrets leaving behind. In that moment we get to see how life would have been very different for the savage killer if he’d walked a different road. Ultimately though, it’s Dow’s conflicted nature that makes him more than a simple thug. In the Heroes he rises to become Protector of the North, and despite finding himself on opposite sides to his old friends he still bears an abiding loyalty to them, Dogman and Ninefingers in particular. When he finally meets his ignominious end and is sent back to the mud by Caul Shivers, it’s a hollow moment of victory at the expense of a truly great character.
Kitiara uth Matar – Weiss and Hickman’s Dragonlance Series
It could all have been so very different for Kitiara. She started off hanging with the good guys, but that was never going to be enough for her. She was ambitious and ruthless and inevitably ended up on the side of evil during the War of the Lance. For the most part she is every inch the dedicated killer, but we do get insights into how guilty her actions make her feel, especially after she kills her old friend Sturm Brightblade. In the end there’s little redemption for Kitiara when she is slain by her former lover Dalamar, her only saving grace being that her immortal soul is not imprisoned by the undead knight, Lord Soth.
Huillam D’Averc – Michael Moorcock’s Hawkmoon Series
Of everyone on this list, Huillam is the one who finds the clearest redemption… just before he comes to a particularly sticky end. But then tragic characters should always have tragic deaths, as someone once said. Huillam is a cultured man, a painter, architect and prolific swordsman, who happens to find himself in the pay of Granbretan, the evil and all conquering empire. After being rescued by the titular hero, Hawkmoon, he joins his band of merry rebels, even finding love with the aristocratic Flana. Alas, their love is doomed when Huillam is immolated by the soldiers of Granbretan, a bittersweet ending at the moment of Hawkmoon’s ultimate victory.
Artemis Entreri – R A Salvatore’s Drizzt Novels
This relentless assassin will stop at nothing to get his man. Artemis is a constant thorn in the side of whiter than white hero, Drizzt Do’Urden, not least because he’s one of the only fighters in Faerûn who can rival the dark elf’s swordsmanship. He’s certainly committed his share of evil deeds, but ultimately he is a product of an abusive childhood, something that plagues him throughout his life. There are flashes of redemption for Entreri, but his venal nature and readiness to kill anyone standing in his way always serve to ruin it. Still, one can’t help but think some day he will come good.
Jorg Ancrath – Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire Series
“There’s something brittle in me that will break before it bends.” So says Jorg Ancrath, Prince of Thorns. With this character Mark Lawrence takes a man who in any other series would be the major villain, and puts him front and centre. Despite his homicidal tendencies, his ruthless nature and sociopathic outlook, we’re still made to root for Jorg as he battle and overcomes villains much more dastardly than he is. The Broken Empire series can be a tough read, and you’ll find yourself wondering why you’re persisting with it, but Jorg is so compelling you’ll struggle to put it down. Just be prewarned if you’re a dog lover!
About R.S Ford
- R.S. Ford originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire but now resides in the wild fens of Cambridgeshire.
- His previous works include the raucous steampunk adventure, Kultus, and the grimdark fantasy trilogy, Steelhaven.
- You can find out more about what he’s up to, and download free stuff, here: http://www.richardsfordauthor.com/.