WITH THE FALL AND SACK OF ROME, the barbarian hordes of the east claimed the lands of the Western Empire and brought forth an age of tyranny.
AGAINST THIS DARKNESS, TWO HEROES WILL RISE
THEY COME FROM WORLDS APART
BOUND TOGETHER BY MAGIC AND CURSED BY FATE
ON THE WAR-RAVAGED ISLAND of Britain, King Cedric of Wessex, launches a treacherous blitz attack against the kingdoms of the Romano Britons. Hopelessly outnumbered, the last descendent of King Lear, George of Bertilack must hold the Saxon advance long enough for his sworn enemy, Arthur Pendragon of Camelot, to unite the Britons in common cause.
FAR TO THE SOUTH, in the deserts of Libya, Princess Sabra of Saline fights against a more insidious foe. However, the shadowy cult that holds her people in bondage is more formidable than she realizes. For the god they worship is no idol of dead stone or gold.
HE IS THE LAST of his kind, an ancient evil, a relic of an age when fallen angels and nephilim ruled over mankind. For centuries, he has waited, but now the dragon Gurzil is ready to make his move.
FOR THIS HAS BEEN FORETOLD
AND THIS WILL COME TO PASS
Historical fantasy is one of my favourite genres, and the Arthurian myths have interested me since I was a child, so it was a no brainer to pick Gurzil as a book to read.
Gurzil fulfills both topics really well, and it is a really ambitious work that links several characters across a collapsed Roman Empire, as it is set on 543 AD. We meet different characters, Morgana and George, Britons at war with the invading Saxons; meanwhile, in Africa, we have Sabra, a princess of Saline (current Libya), whose uncle is trying to establish a kingdom after years of Roman and Vandal domination.
Meanwhile, the Empire’s collapse leads to war everywhere for the crumbs, Gurzil is hidden in the ashes, an evil dragon with his own agenda and with a legion of followers.
We are going to follow the events around these characters and how Gurzil is trying to fulfill his ambitions, and take control of Sabra. The book has multiple POVs, counting a total of eleven, which can become a little bit confusing if you are not totally focused on it. Despite this, using this kind of narrative technique helps to get a rich novel, and to be able to describe all the chaos and madness that is part of the period after Rome’s collapse.
The political and religious intrigue keeps you hooked marvelously. Not going to lie, I devoured the book in one afternoon, that’s how much I was hooked by the plot.
An intensive research job is behind Gurzil, and this can be appreciated in each one of the pages, from obscures references to religion, to the Saxon-Briton wars, the rise of Byzantium and the Saline Kingdom.
I only have two complaints that are the reason why this book is not a 5-star read: I think pace-wise is weird, being maybe too slow at the start, setting the conditions, but accelerating as long as we advance; and personally, I think part of the expression used by the characters were too modern for the historical time.
In summary, I think Gurzil is a hidden gem of the historical fantasy genre, and it is a must for every lover of Arthurian myths. Can’t wait for Badon Hill, the second book in this series.
It is the storyteller’s sacred charge to keep such legends alive.
For when the mighty seek to smudge the heroes out of history; When the chronicler and the journalist record more lies than truth. It falls to the jester, the poet, and the playwright to remind people of the honor of courageous knights, the cruelty of tyrants, and the existence of monsters.
I write to preserve the legends of yesterday in hopes that others to come will record the legends of today.
For tyrants are feared, then reviled, and soon forgotten. Yet, for as long as men and women tell stories, legends will never die!
I am Outis, I am No Man, I am Nemo.