“Once long ago, in a place that is no longer a place…” With that classic beginning, Kevin Scott Munnings lures readers into the convincing world of Blood of the Ancients. By the third page, he has deftly introduced the main characters Skat and Kiernan and explained the hated facial thongs they must wear because of their “deformities”, which we would call only birthmarks. Further initiation into the cruelties of life for the Ammereh-raz’i soon follows. They cannot have spouses, produce children or own property, but must live their lives as slaves simply because they look different.
As we join our two heroes, they are breaking out of their regimented existence. This immediately makes the reading audience sympathize with them. Along the way, they meet some fascinating characters, not the least of which is Timms. With his disheveled appearance, aromatic presence, and vocal performances, Timms takes some getting used to. He speeds the adjustment period up by becoming invaluable to his new “young person” friends.
They are caught in and get out of numerous scrapes including near-death fights, imprisonment, berserkers, and a half-Black Wizard, half-Aguin’Dar in their midst. The plot weaves these details in so well that the reader almost forgets this is a novel rather than an historical account. The hair-raising adventures leave readers breathlessly turning the pages in the hopes that each character survives, and the oppressive atmosphere makes it easy to believe that people would react this way. After all, the old cliché is true: desperate times call for desperate measures.
Munnings accomplishes his task of making the reader genuinely care about the outcome in the lives of his players in the novel. He also whets readers' appetites for the next book of The Tapestry of Blood in a skillful yet infuriating way. Here’s hoping that Book Two will be available soon; I cannot wait to see what happens next.