The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Decent fantasy adventure with a gay, swordfighting hero. Character descriptions are lacking, but the evocation of the physical world, the motion and action and settings, is excellently done, particularly the plentiful violent fights.
The dialogue, especially the cursing, seems anachronistic and awkward, as does the attitudes toward homosexuality, perhaps without more cultural basis for this universe. But then the whole system is confusing, with various races and cultures and planes of existence not described clearly so that it seems a bit of a haphazard mishmash. Most of the big action in this world has happened already -- a war between races has recently ended -- and so this is just a minor flare-up for grizzled late-life veterans. The adventure isn't a big deal.
Ringil, the hero, is likable and sexy enough, and he carries us through. Another protagonist, an alien female warrior turned diplomat, is more sketchily defined, although she has her moments of interest. A third, a dragonslaying chieftain, doesn't have much to do.
The biggest problem with the book is that the villains aren't very scary or effective and so the climax fizzles. The baddies didn't have much of an agenda anyway and it's a letdown.
There are one or two pretty hot sex scenes.