Jack (Church) Churchill and his motley band of warriors, the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, are cast into a fresh vortex of myth and legend where they must fight or be annihilated - according to the whims of various gods.
This is book two in a trilogy. And yes, I know: this is book eight in Chadbourn's on going sequence. Reading the previous seven volumes would probably be useful, but on this occasion I would venture to say that's far from essential: The Burning Man starts with both a forward and an extensive prologue of previous events. In addition, Mark Chadbourn does explain much of prior histories as the story progresses.
In essence The Burning Man is all about cosmic balance and the struggle of human beings to gain control of their own destiny, free from divine intervention, for good or for evil. To recount the plot itself would not only spoil things for the reader but also take almost as long as the book itself. I will just say that Chadbourn's heroes battle demons and spiders, humans and gods who are possessed by spider demons. The novel embraces the gods and peoples from just about every pantheon you care to name, from the myths and legends of Celtic, North American, Norse, Chinese, Egyptian and probably a few others I have forgotten in the melee.
The Burning Man is action packed and rushes onward at an unrelenting pace that allows scant time to draw breath between each fresh intrigue. Jack and company fight their enemies with gritty determination. They also fight not only amongst themselves but on occasion even their own selves; with as many love affairs as there are grudge matches between the erstwhile companions. Of course as befits the middle of a trilogy, The Burning Man ends on a cliff edge ready for the final volume, but it's none the worse for that. The novel is complex and compelling and there is one thing you should never do when reading this book: do not blink or you will miss some tiny and vital clue along the way! Sound confusing? It should be in theory, but being so skilfully written its multi-stranded complexity never detracts from an enthralling story. First rate. Highly recommended.
--- Jan Edwards