Death Angel’s Shadow

ISBN: 0446307491
ISBN 13: 9780446307499
By: Karl Edward Wagner

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About this book

The Eerie Quest of KANE - The Mystic SwordsmanA quest that takes Kane into forbidden wastelands, and tests his killer skills against the most brutal forces ever summoned against a single man.Kane faces death duels in strange swamps, assassins' attacks, the heart-freezing terror of the werewolf - and lives to laugh at danger.But he knows that his strength, and perhaps his very soul, is lost when he enters the erotic web of the vampire...Contents:Death Angel's Shadow (Poem)Reflections for the Winter of My SoulCold LightMirage

Reader's Thoughts


In this short story collection we follow Kane from distant winter palace where he encounters werewolf bent on killing every human being, desert world where Kane is followed and attacked by man pledged to destroy every evil creature (although they could have just taken one look at themselves) to the ruined city where vampire mistress rules.[return][return]All stories are just great, fast-paced with great characters and action.[return]Recommended.

Justin Howe

Unrepentant nihilistic sword and sorcery.

Ollie Odebunmi

** spoiler alert ** First read this book about 15 years ago. Dusted down my dog-eared copy and read it again about a year ago. Wagner's red-headed, left-handed, 300-lb anti-hero wanders through a mythical time when the world was in its infancy. Doomed and cursed to eternal wandering as punishment for introducing violence to an idyllic world, Kane rages through history trying to assuage the crushing boredom of immortality. This vignette of short stories sees Kane survive the cold-searing kisses of a seductive vampire, and engage a cunning albino werewolf in bone-crunching hand-to hand combat. Kane, both necromancer and swordsman is beyond good or evil. He is simply Kane, a man set apart.


"Cold Light" tuntuu tavanomaisemmalta vain siksi että edeltävä ja sitä seuraava ovat liki täydellistä s&s kirjallisuutta.


A collection of four stories, all excellent. Wagner just nails the sense of cosmic wonder and mystery that drives compelling fantasy for me. Great characters, too. Not perfect, but still five-star worthy.


True confession, when the first Kane novel I read, Dark Crusade, did not impress me all that much. But I kept hearing from others just how good a writer Karl Edward Wagner was. So I gave it another try. I am glad I did!


Kane is a fascinating figure, a dark wanderer cursed to forever wander, to forever seek strife and cause conflict. Whether the last two are inherent in the curse or part of his way of dealing with it is unclear. His sophistication is a paradoxical companion to the brutality he lives with. And the fact that things tend to turn out badly for him makes the stories more interesting; it's dull when you're certain that the 'hero' will always win.There's something about the sword and sorcery genre that lends itself to shorter fiction. Not every story has to be an epic, and sometimes there is more clarity in a precisely told brief tale than in a sprawling trilogy.In all, these stories were quite servicable. They all play heavily into well-used tropes: an isolated group of people being hunted, haunted-house style; a morality play of a megalomaniacal crusader whose cure is worse than the disease, whose lieutenant comes to doubt his methods; an offer one can't refuse by the lady who doesn't want you to leave. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite but "Cold Light" comes closest, simply from the unique setting, a ruined city in a shunned nation emptied by plague, the spiritually-broken inhabitants eking out a dull and morose existence.Wagner's writing is occasionally problematic. The dialog comes off as conspicuously modern. While spruced-up language by way of various old-timey affectations is quite annoying (especially reversed word order in randomly-chosen sentences), the characters shouldn't be using recognizably modern idioms.Also, Wagner has apparently taken Robert E Howard's Hyborean Age essay to heart. The stories drip with worldbuilding, and while some of it (such as the introduction to "Reflections...") provides necessary context, sometimes it just clogs the story. In "Cold Light" particularly, Wagner talks about the nationalities of the antagonist group and their back history, but without an immediate reason why the reader should care, it's just heavy and unnecessary detail. In any case it's never clear if this was part of a larger plan or if Wagner is just winging it from story to story.

Nicholas King

Karl Edward Wagner’s work can be described as brutally nihilistic in both tone and scope. In a trio of short stories, Wagner sends Kane, the Mystic Swordsman, hurtling from one blood-soaked adventure to another. Each story that makes up Death Angel’s Shadow surrounds itself with death like a hedonistic lover’s arms. And while there is an amount of erudite mental wrangling done by the lead character, the majority of these stories is spent in visceral escapism.To read the remainder of this review, please visit my blog King's Crier: Book Reviews (


My second favorite collection of Wagner's Kane stories, after Night Winds. Kane is a fascinating character, a true anti-hero.


Death Angel's Shadow collects three novellas of Wagner's Kane, tales in the sword and sorcery genre, though here updated with a slight modern sensibility reflecting the decade (the 1970s) in which they were written. While Wagner's prose flows as beautifully as Howard's (or, in places, Clark Ashton Smith's) the stories mix action with a slight meditation on the genre.One novella, set in the harshest icy landscape and a winter castle, gives us a werewolf tale where the monster is not as obvious as it seems, and Kane is always in danger of his infamy being discovered. The second sees Kane retiring in a dying and blasted town, but followed by a band of men whom he has wronged - the leader of which allows his revenge to make him the villain of the piece. And a luxurious vampire tale which mixes sensuality and philosophy well.Wagner seems best known either as a writer of Kane fantasies or for his short horror, depending who you ask. Ultimately, he was a writer who enjoyed either genre for it strengths in allowing him to write what he liked, how he liked.

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