All is peaceful and calm within the Roman Empire, but on the outskirts, there is no telling what could happen. Alone in the Alpine wilderness, a bold centurion tries to lead his men safely home, braving their wills against hostile natives and the rough terrain.
This is where we find ourselves in the beginning of Blood for Stone, a gripping graphic tale by Kenton Daniels. At first, it comes off as merely an exciting story about a group of Roman soldiers braving the wilderness of the Alps, but one thing leads to another until it becomes something much broader and more mysterious. To be sure, there is a lot of fighting and action, but there’s more to it than that.
The soldiers agree early on to find and rescue a missing twelve-year-old girl in return for safe passage, a mission that soon turns into a nightmare. An attractive gypsy helps lead the way through the mountains and valleys, and eventually they find themselves in a cave filled with skeletons and ancient inscriptions. And that’s when things really pick up.
One of the best things about this story is that, while it keeps up a fast, action-filled pace, it also manages to stretch deeply into the imagination, in a way that might well be considered Spartacus meets Indiana Jones. Thoughts and suspicions are called into question. It is a battle of physical, mental and spiritual dimensions that challenges characters and readers alike.
Aiding in telling the story is the stunningly detailed graphic artwork. Artist Shannon Ritchie’s careful attention to individual characters and background makes everything come to life in both beautiful and horrifying arenas.
Blood for Stone is an intense work. So much happens at such a fast pace that at times it can be hard to keep track of all the different characters. Fortunately, things tie together very well in the end, and I was very satisfied when the story drew to a close.
Over all, this graphic novel proves to be much more than it first appears. It exceeds the expectations led to the readers while never letting down on the pace, and it adds a nice new flavor to the traditional genre of adventure comics. If you’re curious to learn more or are thinking about reading Blood for Stone when it comes out on October 24, purchasing information can be found here or on its Facebook page.