DAY 1: Seth Skorkowsky’s “Damoren (Valducan #1)” – Off to a winning start. For my friend Seth Skorkowsky, it all started right here, with Book 1 of his demon-slaying Valducan Series. I had the pleasure of watching this monster’s birth, from first breath to release day. The rest is monster slaying history…
THE REVIEW: “Damoren (Valducan #1)”
5 out of 5 Stars
In a genre wildly over-populated by cheesy vampire/demon/werewolf love stories and bad supernatural detective shtick, Damoren is a breath of fresh air from the first chapter to the last.
From the start, the reader is treated to a very fresh take on the monster-hunter concept and the monstrous foes themselves — a thread which is enjoyably woven non-stop throughout the book.
The idea of monster-slaying weapons imbued with holy or magical properties has been a staple of legendary storytelling since before Perseus faced Medusa. Damoren elevates the whole concept to the next level, bringing the weapon to life as a character in a way as profound as the flawed hero who wields it.
There is a deep and authentic sense of history throughout Damoren lending dimension to the Heroes and Villains alike, as well as playing perfect companion to the events of the story and the emerging mythology of the series. That impressively well-developed sense of history, both regarding the Valducan Order and the rising menace they face, gives the fantastical aspects of the tale an anchor of gritty, tangible realism.
Flighty and fanciful magic is absent in Damoren – replaced refreshingly with dark, ominous, symbolic ritualism of a ghoulishly Lovecraftian tone.
Action-packed, well-conceived, well-plotted, well-paced, and well-told, Damoren brims with the kind of fantastical history and mythology that makes genre-buffs’ mouths water plus enough good old-fashioned creep-factor to raise more than a few hairs along the way.
I rabidly devoured Book One of Skorkowsky’s Valducan series and can’t wait to get my hands on Book Two when it’s released.
The Rest Of The Story…
If memory serves, I had my first conversation with Seth Skorkowsky about “Damoren” way back in 2008 or 2009. I was standing outside in my driveway, it was night, and we were chatting on the phone. That was a pretty normal place to find me before I quit smoking. Anyway… I remember Seth said to me “Hey, I want to ask you some gun questions.” Being a life-long lover of shooting sports and things that go bang, I said sure.
Then he said to me: “What do you think about a Holy Demon-Slaying Revolver?”
I blinked and replied: “Um… do you… do you HAVE one?”
I was really hoping the answer was going to be “YES!” (because, frankly, how bad-ass would THAT have been?). Turns out though, this Holy Demon-Slaying Revolver only existed in Seth’s Head. Okay, I could still get behind that, all things considered. Naturally, I took a seat on the front porch, sparked up another cancer stick and said, “Tell me about it.”
So he did. I listened. When he got finished with his sales pitch I replied, “What a great idea!”*
*actually, what I said was: “You m*th*rf*ck*r! I’m going to stab in the throat because I didn’t think of this first!!”
Needless to say, I was impressed — and I was hooked. This was the point when any agent should have seen “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” signs flashing. But, alas, this book about a Holy Demon Slaying Revolver wasn’t written yet. Seth was deep in the throes of research and still getting a handle on WHAT this Excalibur of Pistols actually WAS — What it LOOKED LIKE — and How it WORKED. In those earliest conversations, I’d watch him get starry eyed reciting the tale of the prayer inscribed in the barrel of the Holy Revolver — and the “AMEN” which sealed it when fired.
Over time, some things about the soon-to-be iconic “Damoren” changed, others remained the same. The Valducan Universe and Mythos grew. We took a few trips to the gun range and had long conversations about the frightening realities of armed violence (which I was thrilled to see showed up in the book with gut-wrenching flavor). The book was completed. Queries went out. Queries were rejected. For any of you in the biz, you know the drill.
Along came Joe Martin of Ragnarok Publications infamy, and I’m told he took a liking to Seth’s “Prayers to Crom” posts he made with regularity on Facebook. In our group of friends, Seth and I had been praying to Crom for years. We always figured He did not listen, so to Hell with him. But apparently, he was.
Joe and Seth hit it off, Seth queried “Damoren” with RagPub — and the rest was Demon Slaying History.
I loved this book. I loved this mythology. And not just because I had a chance to watch its birth and because a hero of Valducan Mythology is named after me. (Thanks, Seth). I loved this book because Seth had the audacity to jump with both feet into the business of writing Urban Fantasy WITHOUT resorting to writing Yet Another Dresden Clone or Vampire Slut Porn. Nothing could have made me happier. As an Urban Fantasy fan, “Damoren” was just the right book at the right time.
Face it — if you could wake up tomorrow with a handy slew of Demonic Powers and a Demon-Slaying Revolver THAT WAS ALSO A KICK-ASS DEMON-SLAYING BLADE… you’d quit your day job and go All Demon Hunter, All The Time. Also – the cover. Mother of God, is that not a cover you just want to lick from both sides AND the spine?
Go. Get a copy of Seth Skorkowsky’s “Damoren.” Because the signed one on my shelf is mine.