SLAVE OF CHU KUTALL by Michael McCloskey


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A half-orc warrior escapes the shackles of his captors and his heritage to become a hero.

Nergal, a powerful half-orc fighter, has been captured by the slavers of Chu Kutall, an oppressive nation bent on conquest. Fortunately, he’s smarter than the average part-orc, part-human (as he constantly points out, “I have the smarts”), and proves it by dismembering a fellow slave and using his bones to pick the locks on his chains. Following his harrowing escape, Nergal meets up with a heroic band of adventurers on a mission to defeat the frightening monsters that plague the realm. There’s Dalwen, the gentle priestess who immediately believes in the monstrous Nergal; Melvin, the small knight who longed to be a wizard but instead inexplicably chose to become a warrior; Garbor, the genial, oafish fighter eager to dive into any situation with sword drawn; and Zanithweir, the elf who serves as a double agent for the evil Chu Kutall. The hungry hero manages to sublimate his urge to eat the companions when he first meets them (though he later slays the treacherous Zanithweir). Instead, he joins them on their rousing adventure, during which they discover that not only can Nergal fight well, but his constant, Scooby Doo-like hunger pangs are an endless source of amusement for all. Moments of seriousness crop up periodically, however, as friends are crippled and killed along the way. Nevertheless, Nergal proves himself a true hero by sticking with the group and slaying their arch nemesis. Unfortunately, the author seems to forget that he’s writing a story, not crafting a wholly derivative adventure for his buddies to enjoy over a feast of soda pop and pretzels.

Can’t break the chains of Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings and every other fantasy forerunner to which it’s beholden.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 2005
ISBN: 0-595-37854-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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