A while back I was googling around on the Internet for books of speculative fiction that had LGBTQ themes and characters. In the different lists I found, the name of a series kept popping up: A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan.
When I read that one of the main characters was a gay man, something you don’t see every day in fantasy, I stopped by my local sci-fi and fantasy bookstore to buy the first book or the series:
I was pleasantly surprised to see that not just one, but two of the three main characters were queer.
The story follows three war veterans who fought years ago against what is referred to as “the Scaled folks”, some sort of dragonlike creatures that came from the sea. Now Archeth (who is the last of her race), Egar the steppe-nomad and Ringil the legendary hero of the battle at Gallows Gap will meet again when a new and strange enemy is threatening their world.
First thing you should know about this book is that it is brutal. There is no lack of violence in this story which contains graphic depictions of war, torture and sexual assault among other things. I would say that it is my only criticism against this book that the brutality feels sometimes too much, almost like it’s trying too hard to be shocking.
But mostly I really enjoyed this book and Morgan’s masterful storytelling. The author’s skilled worldbuilding creates a fascinating land with complex politics, strange creatures of all sorts and complicated characters with a real emotional depth. Not least Ringil, who has to navigate a deeply homophobic world where many show him animosity, not least his own family, despite him being a war hero.
One major thing that makes me loves this book is its unapologetic depiction of Ringil’s sexuality and his sexual encounters with other men. Including a pretty hot and very unexpected one in particular. I don’t want to spoil anything so if you want to know what that means I guess you’ll just have to read the book. 😉
I ordered the rest of the series as soon as I had finished reading The Steel Remains and I can’t wait to dig into it. If I had to give this book a rating it would be a 4,5/5. Can definitely recommend.