Everyone writing fantasy is living in the shadow of George R. R. Martin these days given the global success of Game of Thrones, and Hangman’s Gate—second in the War of the Archons trilogy—is no exception.
For some writers this could work to the detriment of their product but not R. S. Ford, who seems to have learned a valuable lesson from Martin across this and previous novel in the series, A Demon in Silver – allow your characters to be sarcastic, gritty and almost a touch self-aware they’re in the middle of a broad, fantastical world. Hangman’s Gate continues a series which has all the trappings of traditional fantasy – magic, heroes, kings, mystical lands etc… but, like Martin, his characters are earthy, relatable despite their setting, and often massively out of their depth. In short, they’re frequently very fun to hang out with, which helps the series find its footing.
Hangman’s Gate isn’t afraid to throw new characters into the mix and peel away different layers of the world Ford has created, a world rapidly coming apart.