Deemuth: Vraniga Book 1
Those interested in the machinations and betrayals of an action-driven plot will find something to enjoy in this book.
With Deemuth, Clint Gleason presents a story that is unapologetically violent. Vraniga is a harsh world inhabited by several harsh species. Violence is the norm, and success, power, and a form of wealth known as Vor are won through ruthlessness and cruelty. Garmish’s domain is the worst of all. Garmish, a Braunzin post hand at the Shallows trading post, develops a plot to take over a nearby domain run by the militant Noomok. His reign there is vicious, but it will become even worse when Deemuth takes it over.
The first part of the book focuses on Garmish, who steals purely for the fun of it and who quickly learns that killing is even better. He establishes himself as head of a domain through the worst kind of treachery and spends years tormenting those around him. His eventual marriage is loveless, and when his wife admits to adultery, he rounds up those men she admits to sleeping with and kills them all, saving one, Rawluv.
Garmish’s wife identifies Rawluv as the most recent of her paramours and so his punishment is especially cruel. Garmish feeds both Rawluv and Rawluv’s wife to savage animals called Quillers and makes their son Deemuth watch. Deemuth spends the rest of his childhood as a slave in the domain, hating Garmish and dreaming of revenge. The second half of the novel tells his story, which is even more bloody and violent then Garmish’s.
The book is divided into 112 short chapters, making the narrative choppy. Though the writing is clear and the plot compelling and easy to follow, sentence structure is often awkward. For instance, the author writes about Garmish losing the girl that he is infatuated with: “There would be other females who could appreciate the eventual Vor he’d obtain, and be lured by its shine. Still, it pained him deeply at the thought of never having her.”
The title indicates that the story is about Deemuth, but in fact there are four parts to the book, and Deemuth does not appear until the third. The first two parts focus on different main characters: first Garmish, then Rawluv. The stories of these two characters are very closely connected to Deemuth’s tale, but the level of detail that is provided about their lives is too much for a novel that wants to be about a single main character. Though Deemuth’s story is longer, it is unclear why it is more significant than the other two.
Deemuth is not for the faint of heart. The book celebrates the worst kind of violence. None of the main characters are likable, and there is a great deal of detail about their violent and often gory exploits. The story, however, is creative, with an interesting landscape and unique species. Those who are primarily interested in the machinations and betrayals of an action-driven plot—and who are not turned away by the violence—will undoubtedly find something to enjoy in this book.