My review of Jon Sprunk‘s Blood and Iron is up at Black Gate. Sprunk’s book is, weirdly, the third fantasy novel set during some version of the Crusades that I’ve read this year, and of all the weird Crusades, his is the weirdest, in a good way. What if the Sumerian ruling class had actually been all they claimed to be — descendants of gods, blessed with supernatural power, just plain cooler than mere mortals? They’d have been insufferable tyrants, but their city-states might have stood unconquered for thousands of years. Blood and Iron brings a slave revolt, a Crusaders’ attack from the West, and a simmering mutual resentment among factions of aristocratic mages to a head, as a shipwrecked foreigner from the wrong side of the war struggles to find his way as a new mage among seasonsed mages. It has its flaws, but it’s fun stuff.