Blood and Iron (#1)

Next: Storm and Steel

After losing his wife and son to a devastating plague, Horace becomes a soldier, sailing to battle for the Great Crusade against Akeshia. A shipwreck lands him on enemy shores, where he finds himself enslaved and on a brutal march across the desert to destinations unknown. When the caravan of slaves encounters a fierce storm, Horace discovers he possesses zoana, a mysterious gift of magic potent enough to instill fear in his captors and to earn him a place in Queen Byleth’s court.

Horace quickly learns that life at court is a complex, treacherous prison of its own kind and he remains at the mercy of his foe. With help from Jirom, a gladiator and fellow captive, and Alyra, spy and handmaiden to the Queen, Horace must outwit his enemies and harness his powerful magic to liberate himself and the thousands who have lived in oppression for far too long.


“Sheer fun, with engaging, pulse-quickening action, sympathetic characters and intricate intrigue […] definitely a series to follow.”


“Sprunk’s world is fascinating and original, reminiscent of ancient Sumeria and Babylon.”

Publishers Weekly

“An interesting magic system, complicated political scene, and loads of action make this Spartacus-with-magic a fun first volume in a new epic fantasy series.”

Library Journal

“Full of treachery, rebellion and a pinch of sexual tension, Sprunk has written a work which is one part Shogun and four parts amazing.”


“BLOOD AND IRON is a gritty fantasy novel that doesn’t pull any punches […] [the] adventure is fast paced and will hook readers from the beginning. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy who enjoy a fair share of political intrigue.”

Portland Book Review

“BLOOD AND IRON is an engrossing novel of swords and sorcery. It’s tightly focused and complete, without a sprawling cast and endless appendix of subplots. That’s not to say Jon Sprunk tells a simple tale, he’s just managed to avoid the sinkhole of over-telling that sucks so much epic fantasy into the abyss.”


“Excellent world building, vivid description and an alluring magic system form the strong tripod that supports BLOOD AND IRON […] the novel is entertaining, exciting, action-packed and allows the author to show off more of his world with more expanded worldbuilding.”

SF Signal

“A Sword and Sandal epic that reads like Spartacus set in a richly imagined fantasy world […] Well-trodden story line allows the author to immerse himself in the minutiae of a world that is imagined with completeness.”

Swide Magazine

“The action scenes in BLOOD AND IRON are written to perfection […] [Sprunk] crafts a wonderful story that doesn’t give you all the answers but leads you on to see what will happen […] I’m not sure how long this new series will go on, but you can bet that I’ll be reading them.”

Seattle Geekly

“[BLOOD AND IRON] has interesting moments and some great demons and monsters. The magical system is interesting. Lovers of Conan-style fantasy will enjoy this opening.”

Fantasy Literature

“BLOOD AND IRON is the perfect fantasy beach book. The setting goes great with water and sand. It’s entertaining, and fast-paced with great characters and fascinating magical system. It is well suited for a reader who wants to have a quick, enjoyable read.”

The Qwillery

“What I truly enjoyed about this book was how incredibly detailed Sprunk was with his world building […] Sprunk adds in a complex culture and isn’t afraid to show it’s good and bad points, religious strife, political issues, characters and throws it all into a vivid landscape that seems so absolutely real I can almost see, feel, and smell it all […] He’s started one hell of an epic series, the kind of epic that could rival any other epic out there in scope, magnitude, and complexity.”

Bookworm Blues

“Jon Sprunk’s book takes the prize for strange worldbuilding […] [BLOOD AND IRON is] a strong book, full of powerful imagery and a vivid sense of place, with intriguing historical what-ifs and a sense of moral urgency to match its sense of moral complexity.”

Black Gate

“Jon has produced a story with a strong epic fantasy feel. The story moves along with major event after another with great descriptions of the town, buildings, rooms, and people as we go […] t’s part of what draws the epic fantasy picture. The world building of the culture Horace comes into and the magic that is cherished here is powerful.”

My World….In Words and Pages

“Recommended for fans of sword and sorcery, grimdark, and anyone who enjoys jumping into a unique fantasy world. “

Grimdark Reader

“Jon Sprunk showed us with his Shadow Saga what a brilliant storyteller he is and with BLOOD AND IRON it isn’t any different. A fresh new continent, great characters and a superb story are what you get when reading this book. BLOOD AND IRON is an amazing, interesting, very good and entertaining first book in what could very well become one of the best fantasy series of the next decade.”

Fantastical Imaginations

“BLOOD AND IRON is a great start to what could shape up to be tremendous series. It is hard to imagine that Jon Sprunk has outdone his Shadow Saga with BLOOD AND IRON, but he has. Highly recommended.”

Speculative Book Review

“The action was epic. Jon Sprunk knows what this reader likes […] BLOOD AND IRON wasn’t good. It was great. Jon Sprunk writes in such a way that little is held back, and in the end, everything is left on the page […] It was almost as realistic and gritty as a historical take on this type of era, with a great plot-line and cast of characters strewn in. I would definitely recommend this read to anyone who enjoys fantasy, or is looking for a little magic in their life.”

Fiction Foresight

“The clear writing and fast pace makes Jon Sprunk’s BLOOD & IRON a fun adventure of magic, political intrigue, and good old-fashioned heroes.”

Michael Sullivan, author of Theft of Swords