Blackwing v Pendle Witches Brew

Book: Blackwing
Author: Ed McDonald
Publisher: Gollancz
Published: 2017

Quite simply this series is one of my favourites of all time, and I am not sure what that says about me as a person because this book is really f*cking bleak. That said, unlike most Grimdark you are never left devoid of hope, which I think is a feeling which has always vibed with me. It is especially poignant now in 2022 Britain.

It is written from the POV of Rhyhalt Galharrow, a Blackwing Captain tasked by a near god-like wizard to hunt down and root out anyone or anything in thrall to the ‘Deep Kings’. To do this he is often required to skirt the edges of the Misery, the batshit insane magical fallout zone formed when the ‘good’ guys defeated the Deep Kings the last time they tried to invade. Thousands died, the sky was broken, and a nightmarish wasteland now provides a buffer against future invasion. That, and the threat of the weapon that caused the Misery being used again.

Galharrow is scraping by when we meet him. Doing what he can in the face of an uncaring and increasingly arrogant society who don’t really see the need for the Blackwing anymore. So when his Raven tattoo rips itself free of his arm and delivers a message from his master, the Wizard Crowfoot, he is less than enthusiastic. Unfortunately, it starts to look like an important mission as he discovers that the stalemate everyone assumed would last forever, or at least a lot longer, might be coming to an abrupt end, and the weapon they thought would save them might not be as operational as they believed.

Beer: Pendle Witches Brew
Brewery: Moorhouse’s
Style: Strong Ale
Strength: 4.9%

This beer could only have been brewed by witches because it tastes magical. I’ve mostly been drinking beers out of the fridge recently, despite it being winter, so it was nice to mix it up a bit with a gorgeous room temp ale. Nice and malty, with a fruity finish.

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