Friday, June 19, 2015

Harvest of War by Charles Gramlich, 2012

"Across a snowfield that lies red with dawn, the Orc charge comes. And is met." — opening line

© Razored Zen Press
I'm not very familiar with fantasy fiction or science fiction and it takes me some time to understand stories in the two intricate styles. I often find the plot and the narrative complex. Still, I enjoy reading fantasy and sf stories a lot and I read them regardless of my incomprehension.

But every so often comes along a story that makes reading fantasy or sf a satisfying and delightful experience. Such as Harvest of War, a fantasy short story by noted author Charles Gramlich.

In this story Charles blends rich prose and poetry to narrate a riveting tale of creatures and beasts who clash in the land of startling imagination that is both fascinating and terrifying.

It begins with a gory war between the vicious Orcs and their Human foes, a fight to the death where only one race may survive, or maybe none.

But there is a victor. The Human cavalry led by their leader, Lord Aaron, manages to slay the Orc army. Except for one of their kind who is taken captive and caged and treated so horribly, that his fate in the human settlement is probably worse than in hell.

"Victory rewards the most brutal."

In spite of being grievously wounded and tormented by his oppressors, Khales, the captured Orc, knows no pain or fear. He is a proud warrior of his humanoid race.

As time passes and the Orc begins to accept his barbaric fate, he receives compassion from an unexpected quarter—a small human girl with "red hair and grayish-blue eyes." She is Ehma, daughter of Lord Aaron, who rises above her father's blood-thirsty and vengeful tribe to befriend one of their worst enemies and treat him with kindness. She helps the Orc escape but not before arousing something inside him.

There is hope and redemption in each bloody war, every brutal conflict. The Orc gets a chance to redeem himself, and his own villainous race, when in the absence of the human soldiers, he returns to defend his little friend and her colony against the mighty underground beasts called Reapers, foe to both the Orcs and the Humans.

I may sound clich├ęd when I say this but, Charles Gramlich, author of several fantasy, horror, and sf novels and short stories, has written a cracker of a fantasy story. It is lucid in style and relentless in pace and action. I liked it very much, partly because I understood the story. I only wish the poetic-prose narrative of Harvest of War was longer than the twenty-odd pages of my Kindle edition. I thank Charles for a free copy of the short story available for $0.99 at Amazon.

Highly recommended.

Notes:  Previously, I reviewed Charles' Killing Trail and also interviewed him. You can learn more about the author and his work on his blog Razored Zen and his Amazon page.


  1. Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Great review - sounds pretty amazing and despite my usual avoidance of fantasy/sci-fi I may give it a go. I did enjoy Killing Trail a few months ago, so I know Charles can write.

    1. Col, you ought to try fantasy and sf. There are mystery elements in many of these stories. I read them as often as I can.

  3. I think I'll download this one, Prashant, even if I'm not a big fan of short stories or, for that matter fantasy/sci-fi in general. But you make this sound too good to miss.

    Prashant do you know the historical fantasy books of Naomi Novik? Her Temeraire books are truly exceptional. If you can track down the first in the series, HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, you'll be in for a treat. The books should be read in order if possible. I know you'll love them.

    I should do another post on these books. Maybe next week I'll work something up. I've already written about them, but it never hurts to remind people. :)

    1. Worth every bit, Yvette. Thanks for your kind words. I'm not familiar with Naomi Novik's fantasy fiction but now that you have brought it to my notice, I'll look out for the first in the series, as well as for your post on the books.

  4. That is a lot packed in a 20 plus page story, Prashant. I will get a copy also, since I am trying out both short stories and fantasy nowadays.

    1. Tracy, I know you enjoy reading fantasy and I'm sure you are going to like Charles' story.

  5. This isn't my usual reading at all, but you make it sound tempting!