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Tome of the Undergates

The Aeons' Gate Book 1

Sam Sykes

480 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-242-1
Trade Paperback (6" x 9") • $17.00
September 2010
Cover Illustration: © Paul Young


Adventurer. The term has long been synonymous with cutthroat, murderer, savage, zealot, and heathen. And Lenk, an errant young man with only a sword and a decidedly unpleasant voice in his head, counts all five among his best and only associates. Loathed by society and spurned by all merciful gods, he and his band are recruited for only the vilest of jobs.

Denaos, the lecherous thug; Asper, the cursed priestess; Dreadaeleon, the pubescent wizard; Gariath, the psychotic dragonman; and Kataria, the savage shict who farts in her sleep, have all followed Lenk out of necessity. But as their companionship increases, so too does their enmity for each other. Thrown together by necessity and motivated by their distrust for each other, it falls to Lenk to keep them from murdering each other long enough to allow something more horrible, the pleasure of killing them.

When an esteemed clergyman hires them to track down a missing book stolen by a zealous foulness risen from the depths of the ocean, intent on using the tome to raise its abyssal matron from her hell-bound prison, Lenk finds his skills put to the test. Faced with titanic, fishlike beasts, psychotic purple warrior women, and the ferocity of an ocean that loathes him as much as his own people do, the greatest threat yet may be the company he keeps.

Full of razor-sharp wit and characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunge the reader into a vivid world of adventure, this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.


"Sykes strikes a delicate balance by… keeping the action tension high, while developing character relationships through witty repartee and intriguing and mysterious personal histories on the not-so-merry band. Sykes is often funny, fairly clever, and certainly entertaining.… Tome of the Undergates is Pirates of the Caribbean with a darker, more cynical edge. Fans of Michael Moorcock and Glen Cook will find the same kind of cynicism and darkness, but so too will readers of David Eddings find the levity that was so characteristic of his work.… Tome of the Undergates [is] recommended reading for fans of Joe Abercrombie or Scott Lynch."
—Grasping for the windblog

"…this is a very solid beginning to what promises to be an epic storyline. Sykes writes with a wry humor; there is intense fighting action to be found here, certainly, and a complex plot filled with unexpected twists, but the underlying depraved sense of humor is undeniable. This series has great potential."
Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review

"Imaginative characters, a well-paced narrative and enough maiming, decapitation and evisceration to make 300 look tame... a bloody good read. 9/10" —Total Sci-Fi

"The dialogue was very reminiscent of Scott Lynch at times and the action close to that of Joe Abercrombie. Still Sykes has created his own distinctive style and voice that is wholly different and much more visceral." —Madhatter's Bookshelf & Book Review

"Wildly descriptive slaughter-fest with a surprising pathos." —Stephen Deas

"There's so much plot crammed in there that frankly I'm really looking forward to the next book. There's a blisteringly good story in there and I want to know how it ends!"

The Disgruntled Writer     

"It's violent, witty, foul-mouthed, and unpleasant – and depending on one's perception, it's either perfect or horribly wrong… [It's] is told in the distinctive, dark wit of Sykes' writing. It's funny, it's snarky, it's sarcastic, and it's over the top. The only thing more over the top is probably the violence – typically described in visceral detail. The violence is in your face from the beginning – not quite gratuitous, but so close it becomes semantic. Let's be honest – in this, Tome of the Undergates is something a 14 year-old boy would love. Or someone with a sick sense of humor. Or someone who wants to read an extended Dungeons & Dragons campaign. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this book simply because one of those doesn't apply to you… 7/10"
—Neth Space blog

"Overall it's an interesting adventure story that sidesteps some of the obvious clichés and embraces others, and there's certainly very little slow moving prose... Sykes is a writer to watch as he develops."

Don D'Ammassa's Critical Mass

"…probably one of the most interesting [books] I have read in a while...Is it good? Hell yeah, it's good. The prose is ridiculously easy to get into and flows with a clip and pace that will find you rolling through the pages... I can totally see Sykes coming up to be a frontrunner of the sub-genre with dirty, grimy, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoner adventures like Tome of the Undergates... I really look forward to the sequel and see where Sykes awesomely twisted mind takes us next."
—Iceberg Ink

Sam Sykes

Sam Sykes is a twenty-five-year-old author living in Arizona. Tome of the Undergates is his first book, with many more to come. He lives with two hounds in a small, drab apartment and has eaten at least one of every animal on earth.

You can visit his
website at