Apr 132015

Cover for Michael R. Fletcher's Beyond Redemption. Three warriors on horseback ride through a stylistic landscape of brown and gray.Publishers Weekly: In this disturbing and original fantasy, set in a dark world run by the Theocrats, perception is reality, and altered perceptions can alter reality. The most insane, labeled with Germanic diagnoses, are also the most powerful. Three adventurers–a scary, lethal Kleptic thief; a preening Gefahrgeist (sociopathic) duelist; and a scarred warrior forced to violate his few remaining scruples–stumble onto a Gefahrgeist Theocrat’s plot to raise the first designed god, and they decide to kidnap Morgen, the boy who’s intended as the initial sacrifice. Before the Theocrat’s delusions can do him in, he unleashes his Hassebrand (a pyromaniac) and his assassin squads (including shape-shifters and walking dead) to kill the conspirators and ensure Morgen’s ascension. Fletcher populates the landscape with an array of mental disorders, turning a well-thumbed psychiatric manual into a dramatis personae. His protagonists worry about their fate in the Afterdeath as they commit their crimes, but they always keep their slim hopes for redemption. The dystopia and its victims never quite collapses under the weight of the horror, and their perseverance encourages the reader to endure the grimness until the thought-provoking conclusion.