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Content warning image for Covenant of Blood by H.R. van Adel


On Thayria, the brutal Sarasinian League dominates. Yet beneath its arrogant façade, decades of corruption, neglect and incompetence have left it weakened and vulnerable. Even as its subject peoples yearn for freedom, the League, preoccupied with violent expansion, shows astonishing complacency in the face of impending revolt.

Against a backdrop of relentless bloody battles, a provincial governor chooses a path that could change the course of history. A group of military cadets faces an increasingly dire future. And a jaded research assistant sets out to recover an object of immense power and dreadful consequence.

In the centre of this gathering storm stands an improbably long-lived and immensely powerful figure whose hatred of the League knows no bounds…

A tale of diverse peoples and places, Covenant of Blood is set in a world where innocence is dead, mercy is non-existent, and authority is wielded with an iron fist.

What is it?

Covenant of Blood is my attempt to make the kind of fantasy I’ve always wanted to read but haven’t always been able to find – something a little different from the usual offerings. Morally grey, dark and relentlessly violent, this work straddles the genres of fantasy and science-fiction, but also spans a number of fantasy sub-genres. Above all, it’s a character and dialogue-driven low fantasy grimdark epic that strives to be gritty, realistic, and aims to hit you right in the feels wherever possible. If you’re looking for bland, timid, good-guys-always-win bullshit, keep looking because you won’t find it here.

I take pride in writing vivid and accurate depictions of weapons, armour and combat, so readers who like military and mediaeval themes will probably enjoy this one. Ever wanted to feel like you’re in the middle of a battlefield? If so, this book’s for you.

This story is unapologetically masculine, angry and pulls no punches in its depictions of humanity at its worst. That being said, it’s sprinkled liberally with dark humour. I would hate to make you cry without at least getting you to chuckle first.

Picture of H.R. van Adel

The author

Greetings. I’m H.R. van Adel, an aspiring hermit who lives mostly in my own head. To my great annoyance, strangers often remark that I look down, confused, annoyed and/or tired. I’m not; that’s just how my face is. Although I will admit to having all kinds of hang-ups about which I tend to rant and rave quite a bit.

In my free time, I enjoy swearing and playing computer games (often simultaneously). I also love specialty coffee – I’m currently on a single origin journey sampling different types of coffee from all over the world!

At the moment I’m working on the second book in The Thayria Cycle, but it’s playing second fiddle to a TV script about two down-and-out brothers who get a little bit carried away avenging the brutal rape of their sister.

I don’t do social media. If you want to, you can contact me at h.r.van.adel [at] startmail.com