Literature: Kane

The Kane series is a Heroic Fantasy series by Karl Edward Wagner, about a Barbarian Anti-Hero or Villain Protagonist who has been cursed by a Mad God to an eternal life of wandering.

The main series consists of three novels, Bloodstone, Dark Crusade, and Darkness Weaves. There are also many short stories, which have been collected in several different volumes. The character Kane also makes some guest appearances in other Wagner stories. Dark Crusade was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 1977.

Not to be confused with Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane. Or Charles Foster Kane. Or the WWE's Kane. Or the Messiah. Or Rick Riordan's Kane Family.


  • Action Girl: Teres in Bloodstone.
  • Asshole Victim: Ionor in "Raven's Eyrie" (in an attempt to mitigate a Moral Event Horizon by Kane).
  • Anti-Hero: Kane and some of his companions.
  • Black and Gray Morality.
  • Cain and Abel: Kane is based on Cain from The Bible. Kane was one of the first humans, created by a mad god. Kane was cursed for disobeying the god and killing his brother Abel.
  • The Chick: M'Cori in Darkness Weaves.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes/Icy Blue Eyes: Most people don't like looking Kane straight in the eyes.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Kane is "cursed" with immortality and the ability to heal all wounds. Fortunately, he rarely angsts. He mostly just kicks butt.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Scylredi in Darkness Weaves, the titular Bloodstone and others.
  • Evil Redhead or at least very shady redhead.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Kane is often pitted against villains even worse than him.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The setting of "Lynortis Reprise" is Western front of World War I, complete with trench warfare, poisonous gases and tragic fate of young men who were wounded in combat.
  • God Is Dead: According to Kane in "At First Just Ghostly": "There was a god. I killed him."
  • Kill 'em All: In some stories, almost all named characters die and only Kane survives.
  • Knight Templar: Gaethaa from "Cold Light".
  • Left for Dead: Lages in Darkness Weaves, Jarvo in Dark Crusade
  • Lost Technology: The Scylredi technology in Darkness Weaves, the Bloodstone from Bloodstone.
  • Made of Iron: Kane can take immense amounts of punishment and still fight on.
    • And Efrel, considering what she survived.
  • Magic from Technology: It is suggested that all magic is like this.
  • Precursors: The Scylredi, Krelran and other unnamed "elder races" in Darkness Weaves and Bloodstone.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Subverted in Darkness Weaves: Roget, Lages and M'Cori each have their fortunes told. Roget's prophecy comes true, but the other two do not.
  • Religion of Evil: The cult of Sataki in Dark Crusade.
  • Revenge: A lot. Three of Gaethaa's men in "Cold Light", Jarvo in Dark Crusade, Efrel in Darkness Weaves, Sataki cultists in "Reflections on the Winter of my Soul", Ionor in "Raven's Eyrie". Apart from Efrel, everyone seems to want revenge on Kane himself.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kane.