Title: The Legend of Aezubah: The Crimson General
Author: Slawomir Rapala
Website of Author: http://sjrapala.googlepages.com
Publisher: Bewildering Press
Website of Publisher: http://www.bewilderingstories.com
Genre: Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery
Publication Date: First BwP printing: December 2007
Length: 300 pages
Reviewer: Lucille P Robinson
Aezubah and his mercenaries carry out the orders of their king. They go to Oyan to destroy the Temple of Sonya, the priest Drohen and Drohen’s followers. After the temple is destroyed and the followers raped and murdered, the mercenaries throw Drohen, the mage and priest, out of town into the surrounding desert.
The next morning Aezubah enjoys much wine and merry making, and when he and his friend N’Cton finally arrive at Aezubah’s home, they find Aezubah’s wife and three sons abused and killed: the sons hanging on the single tree and the wife laying at the feet of her five killers. A fire breathing sand demon arrives coming forth from the sands to feed on the bodies. In short order, all but one are dead, the demon is dead and Aezubah sends his friend away while he takes care of the last killer. This destruction was ordered by Drohen when he paid the killers two hundred pieces of gold soon after he had been thrown from the town.
As a result, Aezubah vows,
“I will seek out my enemy, the wicked and proud mage, and I will exact my vengeance.”
After years of following his nemesis and facing death too many times to keep count, Aezubah meets him in the icy, snowy wastelands of Arynos. With Drohen’s death, Aezubah expected a sense of satisfaction, a feeling of vengeance served, a peace filling his entire being, but there was nothing. No feeling whatsoever and he realized he had wasted his life in pursuit of this man. Yet, he continued to live, to fight, to kill. To show proof
“that the things we do remain with us forever; our actions, as small as they are, can change the world; certain things are inevitable, ergo there is fate and certain things are beyond our control; to err is human; all people have the capability to be both villains and heroes, it just depends on the circumstances; all people, all the world is interconnected and the actions of one affect the others. Love him or hate him, Aezubah.”
The Legend of Aezubah: Crimson General is a moving story. The reader will both love and hate Aezubah as he/she reads the account of Aezubah’s life of vengeance and hatred. The whole novel resembles a series of short stories held together by transition made up of accounts taken from Aezubah’s Chronicles. Aezubah is a hero to many, but an avenger to others and as such a complex individual that readers will find him the greatest of heroes. I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading others written by Slawomir Rapala. Check out the websites listed above where a reader can find short stories written by Rapala.
Slawomir Rapala is a Fantasy and Science Fiction writer residing in Cambridge, Canada. His stories have been featured mostly in Bewildering Stories, but he has also published some poetry and has co-authored scholarly articles on immigration and living with acquired disabilities in academic journals.
He holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology, having studied in Canada and Australia. His greatest passion, aside from writing, is travel: bit by a travel bug at a young age, he has traveled much of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Living in different places enabled him to see that people are alike everywhere: they can be both villains and heroes, capable of committing the worst acts or the ultimate sacrifices. The interconnectedness of the world and the people in it is something that he tries to demonstrate in his stories and novel.
He continues his work on The Legend of Aezubah series, which constitutes the bulk of his creative work, with occasional breaks for Sci-Fi stories.