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What will you sacrifice in the name of love?


Or maybe in the name of honour? Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish those values. Herbert lives a peaceful life near Warsaw. Everything would be perfect if not for the visit of one man in his workshop. From that day, Herbert’s world has been falling apart.  

Blood Ransom Marcin Jamiolkowski

Sophisticated storyline with twisted action is a great way to describe „Blood ransom” in one sentence. We met Herbert in a truly dark moment of his life. Someone kidnapped his girlfriend! Villain is offering her back safe and sound on one condition – Herbert needs to deliver something to certain location. Seems straightforward, right? Nothing could be more wrong! Particular people do not want for Herbert to make this delivery. And they are pretty desperate in means to achieve that goal.

In his tough journey he meets private detective Anna and young hipster Vyga. Both of them will somehow help him in his mission.

Blood magic as the darkest of all

Magic in „Blood ransom” is not about spells and magic books full of ingredients. Author’s approach in this field is original and way more fun! When Herbert wants something, he usually speaks about it in specific way. For instance, when he wished about having more time than it really was, he just used public transport tickets from trams or buses which were delayed. Amazing, right?

Second thing that made me smile, were suspension episodes of Blood fury. Why? Because finally someone did a good job describing how human mind reacts in this kind of state. Time is slowing down, the senses sharpens, each enemy is considered dead and Herbert is not paying attention to his injuries. This is how Blood fury should look like! It is like that in most RPG games – player has probably slow time option plus definitely his injuries are not as big as his enemies.

„We seemed to be in the middle of a half-sphere, with 6-yard radius. It did not have defined edges, but everything that was beyond it, blurred out gradually, just like a paint put on canvas with fingers loses its sharpness.” [p. 193]

Ironic sense of humour a manner to gain courage

Herbert does not lose sense of humour even being in dreadful situations. His ironic and sarcastic way of living is the most precious thing in this book. Moreover, the detective has specific sense of humour too, which makes it easy to work with Herbert and understand his motives. And believe me, his explanations can be considered crazy enough to not give a damn about them.

This ability is visible in dialogues with Vyga and Anna, as well as in narrative. Although Herbert is main character, the tangential characters are also distinctly outlined and can be easily imagined. Picturing the whole thing is even easier because it happens in Poland. I, for example, knew where Herbert was exactly on every page of the book (there is even WKD station mentioned!). So for me conjuring up those events was a piece of cake.

“- Were you so smart over there too? I heard in theatrical whisper.

- Where?

- Up your ass.

All three of them brayed. I laughed too. I didn’t have an idea for a comeback.

- You’re all right, boys – I said - Ugly, that’s true, but all right. So you look like that every day, or is it Halloween already?” [p. 108]


Evil characters are lastly vicious ones!

They are ugly, but we can agree on repulsiveness not being a feature, that directly assigns anyone to dark side. They call themselves “Basilisks”. Name like many others, nothing fancy, maybe with a light touch of fantasy. What is the most important – the evil in “Blood ransom” is really damn bad! Those characters have forsaken every good thing in life.

They have no mercy and if they want you dead, you will probably be dead very soon. I mean really soon, because they have means, power and they will not stop until you are pile of gnawed bones. Literally. No one will like them. You will feel no compassion towards them or pity. Why? Because they will not do the same for you. I love what Marcin Jamiolkowski did with evil in this book.

„Gardener’s bald pate was decorated with a similar tattoo. A black like ran down his nose, dividing his head in half and cutting thru his lips. The line wasn’t a tattoo. It was a cut, sewn back together with uneven “roundabout” stitch. It couldn’t have been done worse. The ear’s cartilage spotted a hole big enough for two fingers.” [p. 106]


To sum up, I think „Blood ransom” will gain a lot of fans. It is not only hardcore love story. It is far more tangled than that! Fantasy followers will find here magic in (finally!) polish environment. Criminal minds will enjoy action and detective plot. Finally – everyone who likes books with great sense of humour will be pleased to read it. I am looking forward to reading "Order" - second part of the Herbert's adventures.



Translation of „Blood ransom” is exceptional. The book originally was written in polish.

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