Scourge of the Betrayer book coverThis is the marketing copy Night Shade Books put together, and I’m pretty sold on it, so I’ll recycle here.

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Many tales are told of the Syldoon Empire and its fearsome soldiers, who are known throughout the world for their treachery and atrocities.  Some say that the Syldoon eat virgins and babies–or perhaps their own mothers.  Arkamondos, a bookish young scribe, suspects that the Syldoon’s dire reputation may have grown in the retelling, but he’s about to find out for himself.

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Hired to chronicle the exploits of a band of rugged Syldoon warriors, Arki finds himself both frightened and fascinated by the men’s enigmatic leader, Captain Braylar Killcoin.  A secretive, mercurial figure haunted by the memories of those he’s killed with his deadly flail, Braylar has already disposed of at least one impertinent scribe . . . and Arki might be next.

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Archiving the mundane doings of millers and merchants was tedious, but at least it was safe. As Arki heads off on a mysterious mission into parts unknown, in the company of the coarse, bloody-minded Syldoon, he is promised a chance to finally record an historic adventure well worth the telling, but first he must survive the experience!

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A gripping military fantasy in the tradition of Glen Cook, SCOURGE OF THE BETRAYER explores the brutal politics of Empire–and the searing impact of violence and dark magic on a man’s soul.

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I have to say, perhaps I’m biased, but I think the cover looks fantastic. I’m absolutely thrilled. The art came from J.K Woodward, who did a killer job, and the striking design was put together by Federico Piatti and Victoria Maderna.

I’m guessing most writers have panic attacks (or at least some pretty sharp anxiety) when they see their covers for the first time, because you never know how an artist is going to interpret your vision or characters, or how the designer is going to tie it all together and package it. But J.K., Federico, and Victoria all did stellar work here. The artist completely captured the almost film noir vibe of the book, and the designers came up with a great treatment for the tag line, added a flourish, but still kept it understated.

Update: Night Shade just sent me the dust jacket for the hardcover (see below, in all its kickass glory). I thought the front cover was impressive enough, but now that I’ve seen the whole thing, I’m blown away by how good it is. Everything really came together well–the colors, fonts, style. It’s beautiful and moody and really just flat out stunning.

Scourge_of_the_Betrayer_Dust Jacket


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  1. Joe Parrish March 6, 2012 at 2:10 am # Reply

    I just had to say that I loved what I read, It very much reminded me of The Black Company most of all along with most of the other more realistic of the fantasy writers I have read. I can not wait to get the whole book. It looks like the start of a great series. I had not been reading much fantasy lately but this has made me start reading it again. Best of luck with the book.

    • jeffsalyards March 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm # Reply

      Thanks so much, Joe. I really appreciate that, and I’m glad to hear you’re hooked. I wasn’t positive about putting the excerpt up, or such a long sample anway, but it seems like it’s doing the job. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book too.

  2. Piotr Kaplon July 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm # Reply

    Great book. Just read it, can’t wait to see the next one. Meanwhile you should give us a map. Maps are cool. Every proper fantasy series needs a map. Just saying.

    • jeffsalyards August 17, 2012 at 4:20 am # Reply

      Hi Piotr,

      You’re spot on about the map. I really should have included it in Scourge, but I will definitely have on for Book 2. With any luck, I’ll post it here first. Thanks for the kind words about the book, and apologies for not responding sooner–I’ve been having some family medical issues (see today’s post!).

  3. Jason August 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm # Reply

    All I can ask is when is the next book going to be out? It’s going to be on my buy on release day list!!!

    • jeffsalyards August 17, 2012 at 4:21 am # Reply

      Thanks so much! If everything stays on target, Book 2 will be out fall 2013.

  4. Regina August 28, 2012 at 2:37 am # Reply

    Most comments here seem to be from guys, so I just wanted to add my two cents for balance.:) I just finished your book and really enjoyed it, and like others here, I’m now waiting for a sequel. Funny thing is, the description above mentions Glen Cook, but his style is very different IMHO. I could never really get into his books, and liked the Scourge much more (of course it’s a matter of taste). Anyway, good luck with the rest of the series, and the best wishes!
    And yes, the cover is beautiful.

    • jeffsalyards September 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm # Reply

      That means a lot, Regina. Thanks for taking the time to post and share your thoughts. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book so much. Yeah, I was a little surprised by the Cook comparisons, too. I mean, on the one hand it makes sense (they both have chroniclers accompanying military units, of sorts), so I get it. But as you say, I think the styles are pretty different. Thanks again for the comments. I will get that sequel out as soon as I can manage. :)

      • jeffsalyards September 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm # Reply

        I should add–if anyone is so moved, I’d really appreciate it if you posted a review of Scourge on your favorite reading haunt–Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, LibraryThing, bathroom stall, whatever. :)

  5. Rich August 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm # Reply

    Loved the book and the way it flowed. You gave life to the characters and made it easy to put myself in their places. I am awaiting the next book and would love any information about the release of the next one that you can provide. Oh and please keep them coming.

    • jeffsalyards June 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm # Reply

      Wow, I totally missed this comment. Which is criminal, since it’s not like there are thousands to comb through. My apologies! Anyway, if you do happen to catch this, the second book is out. :) Wow. I am such a dumbass sometimes.

  6. Bo June 15, 2014 at 6:25 am # Reply

    Hey! I just want to say I am really enjoying your book. I’m only on the first one but there is no doubt that I will move on to the second. I like how your writing is not prone to hyperbole and over dramatic language. Its nice and laid back and the characters are more real than those you often find in similar books. Great work!

    • jeffsalyards June 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm # Reply

      Thanks so much, Bo. I really appreciate the feedback, and I’m glad you are enjoying the book. Thanks for the note!

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