Hangman's Gate

by Richard Ford
Release date: June 18, 2019
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasyhigh fantasy

After uniting the bandit clans of the Crooked Jaw, the Iron Tusk swept into Shengen Empire. Within one year he had usurped the throne and subjugated its people. Now he marches his new army along the Skull Road, ready to lay waste to the lands in the west.

Centurion Laigon Valdyr, and the last warriors of the Fourth Standing of Shengen, bring news to Dunrun of the Iron Tusk s impending invasion. The ancient fortress keep of Dunrun stands at the edge of the Skull Road and a small force could defend the way against superior numbers, but for how long? The beleaguered troops of the Great Eastern Militia must send for help.

Ctenka Sunatra and the southern veteran Ermund are dispatched from the fortress to entreat the Queen of Kantor for aid, but when they reach the great city state their pleas are all but ignored. With little choice, Ermund leads them south to his former homeland, where the secret of his true identity is revealed. There they find Randal Weirwulf has seized power by becoming a surrogate father to children who have developed fledgling magical powers. He has used them to usurp power from the three kingdoms of Suderland and place puppets on their thrones.

As Ctenka and Ermund head back north with little to show for their trouble, they find themselves in charge of a rag-tag group of prisoners. Among them is Josten Cade, now fallen far from grace. When they reach the fortress of Dunrun, the Iron Tusk has already arrived and it seems nothing can stand against him. That is until a mysterious woman arrives from the desert.

The defenders of Dunrun fight valiantly against the Iron Tusk and his army, but with no one to match the power of the god-like warlord all seems lost. It is not until Laigon Valdyr himself prays to gods long forgotten that he is finally given the strength to defeat the Iron Tusk and send him back to the dread plane from where he came.

(updated 2019-06-18)

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