Violence of Action by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole [Amazon link] is our opportunity to see the Rangers go raiding. To do what they do best: kill things and break stuff. The non-linear flow of the pseudo-memoir style of the Forgotten Ruin series works really well here, as we shift back and forth between the actual hit and the weeks of planning that led up to it.
In addition to the military nerdery, there is a bonus at the end of the book, comprising almost a third of its length in the Kindle edition I have. It is the lost pages of the Book of Skelos, the story of how the Ruin came to be. It makes sense in the narrative of the book, and also in a meta way as a bit of service for the fans.
One of the things I enjoy about Anspach and Cole’s writing pace is that they can respond to their fans in almost real-time. After the first two books came out, a common complaint I saw in their fan groups on Facebook was that Talker talked too much about coffee, and that the narrative didn’t follow a straight line. I feel like those things were features not bugs, so I’m glad to see the authors having a bit of fun with this. Your complaints have been filed.
The immense cultural imprint of Dungeons and Dragons has had a baleful impact on adventure fiction, with vast numbers of books being written either as tie-in marketing efforts to existing properties or with the game itself serving as direct inspiration for stories. Unfortunately, this copy of a copy process has resulted in output that isn’t quite as sharp as the original.
Forgotten Ruin is the most fun I have had with a D&D inspired property in ages. I think part of the magic here is that Anspach and Cole have a wealth of their own material to add in to the story, forging something new in the process. One of the strengths of Campbelline-era science fiction was the ability to educate a reader in some principle of science while otherwise telling a story that resembled a Western. If you are willing to cast off the self-imposed shackles of “hard” scifi, you can see that this idea can be extended to just about any field of knowledge, such as linguistics, anthropology, or now military doctrine.
Today, men mostly read non-fiction and women mostly fiction, but this was less true when much of the popular adventure stories for men were this kind of hybrid of fiction and non-fiction. I hope that something like this can gain popularity again.
By drawing on a deeper well than just re-cycled RPG sessions, Violence of Action provides a more satisfying story than a lot of D&D inspired works. The stuff of myth and legend, tales as old as time itself.
… vigil nitido patefecit ab ortu
purpureas Aurora fores et plena rosarum
atria: diffugiunt stellae, quarum agmina cogit
Lucifer et caeli statione novissimus exit
Aurora, awake in the glowing east, opens wide her bright doors, and her rose-filled courts. The stars, whose ranks are shepherded by Lucifer the morning star, vanish, and he, last of all, leaves his station in the sky – Metamorphoses 2.114–115;
However, that isn’t to say that absolutely everything in the book is serious. The book largely shares the deviant sense of humor that military men often have, a survival technique when you deal with death on a regular basis.
Overall, I find this blend just about perfect. Action, adventure, humor, and mythic resonance all together. Hopefully there will be more like it to come. This review is for the ebook version, but I did the first book in audio, and I think the audio version was exceptionally well done. The audio version of Violence of Action won’t be out for some time, but I expect that Christopher Ryan Grant’s narration will be just as good as the first time.
Violence of Action is highly recommended.
I received a free review copy from the authors. Go check out their website: https://forgottenruin.com/
Galaxy’s Edge season 1:
Legionnaire: Galaxy's Edge #1 Book Review
Galactic Outlaws: Galaxy's Edge #2 Book Review
Kill Team: Galaxy's Edge #3 Book Review
Attack of Shadows: Galaxy's Edge #4 Book Review
Sword of the Legion: Galaxy's Edge #5 Book Review
Tin Man: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Prisoners of Darkness: Galaxy's Edge #6 Book Review
Imperator: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Turning Point: Galaxy's Edge #7 Book Review
Message for the Dead: Galaxy's Edge #8 Book Review
Retribution: Galaxy’s Edge #9 Book Review
Galaxy’s Edge Season Two
Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations:
Requiem for Medusa: Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations Book 1 Review
Order of the Centurion
Order of the Centurion #1 Book Review
Iron Wolves: Order of the Centurion #2 Book Review
Stryker’s War: Order of the Centurion #3 Book Review
Through the Nether: Order of the Centurion #4 Book Review
The Reservist: Order of the Centurion #5 Book Review