Special to Omnivoracious, by Will Hindmarch. Look for Will's interview with Wil Wheaton later this year.
"We're none of us what we once were," says the rakish war hero, Ringil, in Richard K. Morgan's new sword-and-sorcery novel, The Steel Remains. In Morgan's brutal new fantasy world, almost no standard trope is left as it once was, either, from the hungry dead to the timeless otherworld of faeries. What is intact is Morgan's noir style, combining angry, damaged killers with messy, dystopian settings where politics almost always gives way to violence. he novel alternates between the storylines of three separated comrades in arms, all of them veterans of the same war, all of them outcasts in their own ways: Ringil, the heroic swordsman, is reviled for his sexuality. Archeth, the half-breed advisor to a decadent emperor, is an outsider by blood. Egar, the loutish dragonslayer, is a chieftain doubted by his kin. They each found glory battling an inhuman army, but this isn't a world where war is glorious.
The land of The Steel Remains isn't a fantasy realm as much as it's an alien world, right down to its ringed planet. Characters talk about dragons and sorcery, but Morgan revokes the comfortable wonder that fantasy readers might associate with such things. What's left is an uneasy mysteriousness.
Omnivoracious readers may remember Richard K. Morgan's stint as a guest blogger here in July of 2008. He came back to answer some questions via email about the writing and release of The Steel Remains.