Is THE LAST SACRIFICE Grimdark?
James A. Moore
So, a quote to start this off: “James A. Moore is the new prince of grimdark fantasy. His work is full of dark philosophy and savage violence, desperate warriors and capricious gods. This is fantasy for people who like to wander nighttime forests and scream at the moon. Exhilarating as hell."
—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind and Ararat
Damned flattering words, and I am very flattered. I recently had someone ask me if I thought The Last Sacrifice qualified as Grimdark. I also had similar questions about the entire Seven Forges series as it stands so far.
Well, let’s look at that for a moment, shall we?
From Wikipedia; grimdark
Grimdark is a subgenre or a way to describe the tone, style or setting of speculative fiction (especially fantasy) that is, depending on the definition used, markedly dystopian or amoral, or particularly violent or realistic. The word was inspired by the tagline of the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000: "In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."
Seven Forges deals with a very long and savage war between a vast empire and a smaller but far more savage gathering of kingdoms. Is it dystopian? Yes. Is it violent? Absolutely. Is it amoral? Possibly as I never once declare one side of the war or the other as the moral north on the compass.
How about The Last Sacrifice?
The story starts off with our hero (If there is technically a hero of the story it is most decidedly Brogan McTyre who is wronged and decides to take the battle to a new level.) trying to save his family from being used as the sacrifices offered to the gods of the Grakhul. He fails. His actions literally trigger the end of the world as the gods decide that the human race must be punished for this last act of disobedience. Brogan and company are on the run, hunted by, well, everyone, and commit several rather heinous acts of their own and that’s just in the first few chapters.
Looking back at the definition offered by Wikipedia, I’m going to go with a resounding “Yes.” There are dark forces afoot. There are slavers roaming the lands, there is mass destruction and the ruination of at least one kingdom. The gods at play cannot possibly be called benevolent by any sane person, and their previous actions on the planet have scarred the landscape and led to corruption on a scale that will only be properly revealed through the course of the trilogy.
Though there is humor, most of it is best suited for the gallows, and though there are a few heroes in the story I wouldn’t go so far as to call them knights in shining armor. Brogan McTyre is a damaged man. He’s had his family slaughtered to appease the gods. He has been forced by the laws of his country to accept a payment, as if his family is little more than cattle. He is not forgiving and he is wanted for his crimes against the Five Kingdoms and the very gods themselves. The gods refuse to accept that he was hurt by their actions and instead demand that he be found and brought to them to face their brand of justice if the world is to be spared.
I’ve looked to some of my idols in the fantasy field for inspiration here. Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Glen Cook, whose amazing Black Company books should be required reading, Robert E. Howard and David Gemmell, these are a few of the names. There are more. I think it’s fair to say that each and every one of them managed to write their fair share of Grimdark before that phrase even existed in the common parlance. Sword & Sorcery, Dark Fantasy, Grimdark, by any name it is the prevalent in the flavor of The Last Sacrifice. As to me being the new prince in that field, I’m beyond flattered by the praise. Time will tell if I can live up to that title.
About James A Moore
JAMES A MOORE is the award-winning, bestselling, author of over forty novels, thrillers, dark fantasy and horror alike, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels, The Blasted Lands and City of Wonders both part of the Seven Forges series. In addition to writing multiple short stories, he has also edited, with Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, The British Invasion anthology for Cemetery Dance Publications.
Moore’s first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print. He is currently at work on several additional projects, including the forthcoming The Last Sacrifice, book one in the Tides of War, series. Along with Jonathan Maberry and Christopher Golden, he hosts the Three Guys With Beards podcast and currently he lives in Massachusetts.
The Last Sacrifice synopsis
Since time began the Grakhul, immortal servants of the gods who choose who lives and who dies when it comes time to make sacrifices to their deities, have been seeking to keep the world in balance and the gods appeased. When they take the family of Brogan McTyre to offer as sacrifice, everything changes.
Brogan heads off on a quest to save his family from the Grakhul. The decision this time is costlier than they expected, leading to Brogan and his kin being hunted as criminals and the gods seeking to punish those who’ve defied them.
To purchase The Last Sacrifice use the Amazon link below.