Review: A Conversation in Blood by Paul S. Kemp

On sale January 24th is the third book in Paul Kemp’s The Tales of Egil & Nix series, A Conversation in Blood.

Returning to the streets of Dur Follin this tale sees our roguish heroes dealing with the consequences of their adventure in A Discourse in Steel, and neither of them is handling it particularly well. A life of gentlemanly leisure as simple landlords of the Slick Tunnel fits ill with Egil and Nix and it doesn’t take long for the duo to run sideways of a wizard thanks to some magical plates and wizards with communication issues. What begins as a dispute with a wizard quickly escalates as the books antagonist, the Afterbirth enters the stage and wreaks havoc across Dur Follin.

In A Conversation in Blood there is lots of  blood, colorful characters, blood, drinking, blood, evil wizards, blood, surprisingly touching emotional moments, blood,  foul language, blood, magical gewgaws, blood, epic fights, blood, noble heroism, blood, a talking vegetarian key, and did I mention lots of blood?

I am admittedly a huge fan of Kemp’s work having read his licensed work in both the Star Wars and Forgotten Realms universes as well as his short story book, Ephemera (currently free for Kindle Unlimited). As much as I enjoyed Kemp’s take on Star Wars and his stories about Erevis Cale, it is in his Tales of Egil & Nix that Kemp’s authorial voice rings truest.

If you enjoy storytelling with the content sensibilities of Game of Thrones, then imagine George R.R. Martin force to write while strapped to the front of a War Boys’ car going 100 MPH, pumped full of Jolt Cola and Pixy Sticks with Metallica blaring from the speakers and you approximate the full Egil & Nix experience that Kemp delivers.

Kemp does some very interesting things in this novel, starting with a larger cast he narrows it down as the novel goes on allowing us to spend more and more time with our heroic duo. This is something that I really enjoyed as the banter between Egil & Nix is at the heart of what makes these books work. The dark humor that permeates the entire world is observed in a way that a demonic Jerry Seinfeld (wait, given his incredible success, wealth and marrying a woman half his age are we sure Jerry isn’t a demon?) would be proud of.

Kemp also plays around with the structure of his storytelling in a way that I don’t want to spoil but which provides a very satisfying conclusion and a reason to reread the book almost as soon as you are done.

All that being said, why are you still reading this fakking review? Go buy the book and you slubber, and if you haven’t already pick up the first two books (The Hammer and The Blade & A Discourse in Steel)  in the series re-released by Del Rey with fancy new cover art.



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