Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs - the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.
Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world - a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis.
Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear - the doom written for him, and the entire world.
"(A) boundary-busting horror-fantasy debut.... fully delivers both sizzling passions and dark chills." (Publishers Weekly)
"Files' poetic prose is pitch-perfect: languid, precise and full of dark imagery..." (Justine Warwick, Rue Morgue #102)
"Gangs of New York rubs against the cross-genre cheek of True Blood, mashed with a healthy dollop pf J.R.R. Tolkien by way of a dusty, mud- and semen-caked Deadwood... truly one-of-a-kind, violent, carnal and creepy." (Fangoria)
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3:10 to Yuma with magic and a slash relationship.
I'm not surprised that the review above speculates that this novel stated out as fanfiction, as the plot contains all the erotic wish fulfillment typical of that realm. What lifts it is the quality of the writing- Gemma Files has an excellent command of the genre dialect and combines it with really tight poetic prose. The dialogue zings in the manner of a good Deadwood episode- which works well in the context of an audiobook.I really had to give full marks to Gordon Mackenzie for not only navigating some luridly vocal sex scenes but also singing western tunes and voicing a main character whose larynx was crushed in a botched hanging.The central triangle between small, violent, whoreson Chess Pargeter, fallen preacher Reverend Rook and ex-Pinkerton detective Ed Morrow really is the best part of the story. It's an erotic gay romance on an operatic scale, set within a hotchpotch Aztec-Native American--Buddhist-Christian (yeah, I know) mythological backdrop. I came to the audiobooks after enjoying reading the novels- and I can see how getting your head round the scale of the mythology might be daunting. However it makes sense in terms of strong fantasy world building- Wild West magic comes from all the competing cultures and civilizations that are thrown up against each other in this raw new country- Mexicans, Indians, hell-and-damnation Preachers and Chinese railway workers. It's hugely enjoyable to see how the author pulls all these elements together- and based on quite a lot of research, so you learn a bit! Without giving away too much, the trilogy follows a betrayal-revenge-restitution arc, so it's pretty satisfying, this first book covering the initial betrayal. As the author put it in a dedication, this is one for 'everyone else who has found themselves developing a sneaking taste for blood-soaked gay porno magic horse opera' but it does end up being greater than the sum of it's parts.
Erm...depends on their tastes
A lot of the characters hide their emotions under a cool, gunslinger demeanor. Gordon MacKenzie made it easier to understand the subtext without losing the insouciance.
Yes....the love story is convincing, and I felt for them. Also, it has to be said...this is way more erotic than 50 Shades.
Promises a lot but fails to deliver