Review: ‘A God-Blasted Land: The Bastard Cadre # 1’ by Lee Carlon

Clockwork Samurai
Originally published 2011, this edition published October 2013


The first of three e-books published so far (the forth is in progress) about a group of young people bound from birth by magic to a gods Chosen representative. Set on a ravaged planet where cities have fallen into ruin, technology and magic co-exist, and the decimated population is ruled by a small group of Chosen and policed by the Bondsmen.

Avril Ethanson is seventeen, he never knew his father or mother, or his true name. He called himself Ethanson for the man who raised him out in the wilderness. An encounter with a dragon forces Ethan to call for help from people he never wanted to see again.

When Ethan is assassinated Avril is forced to survive alone. Running from Ethan’s former friends and from the assassins Avril starts to grow up.

This was a very quick read, a few hours this morning, and I couldn’t put it down. The world the characters inhabit is complex and fleshed-out, and although it’s a bit confusing at times, there are no plot holes or inconsistencies. As befits a writer of technical manuals the technology is precisely worked out, even though it’s never explicitly explained. There is a logic to both the tech and the magic.

His characters are a different matter. They don’t quite feel ‘real’, they’re unsubtle. But Avril and Ranora, the main characters are developing by the end.

The author’s writing style is direct, simple storytelling. Crossing genres, trying to be both sci-fi and fantasy, might not have worked out so well if that wasn’t the case.

Lee Carlon is a talented, understated writer. I enjoyed the story and would happily read the rest of the series if they’re as good as this first offering.



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