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Literature / Dirge

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Dirge is a Dark Fantasy novel by Tim Marquitz published by Permuted Press.

Wreathed in the ashes of betrayal, forced to come of age in the dungeons of her stolen inheritance, Kallie Brynn Soren died so that Dirge might be born. In the midst of an undead invasion, Kallie is gifted powers by a dying priest. His last wish is for her to use them against the Necrolords in a way his faith would not allow. Reborn as Dirge and free of the priest’s conscience, she is more than happy to do so.

But when fate brings Dirge into the employ of the emperor–the same man whose machinations brought about the murder of her father–the opportunity for revenge becomes too much to ignore. Torn between vengeance and the need to protect the only people she dare call family, Dirge learns there is a much deeper purpose to the Necrolord’s advance. Should it come to light, it might destroy everyone.


The book was released in January of 2015.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Rava the Raven, in her human form, at least is clearly a woman of non-white non-European ancestry. It helps add to her fetish appeal to the Emperor.
  • Apocalypse How: The survivors of humanity are all reduced to living in walled compounds ruled by The Empire.
  • Antihero: Kallie a.k.a Dirge is a Hitman with a Heart who spends her gold from killing people on helping refugees.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Heart of Ultir is the heart of the Necrolord's god.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Both the Emperor and High Necro-Lord need to be taken out if humanity is to stand a chance of living anything resembling a normal life. Later, we can add Duke Freye to the list.
  • Best Served Cold: Dirge gets a chance to savor her revenge, decades in the making, against Hale. Everyone else, she has to kill in combat.
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  • Black Magic: Practiced by the Necro-Lords.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Necro-Lords live in castles full of the undead, wear black, and worship a god of darkness. They're not going for ambiguity. Why? Because they don't need to.
  • Dark Action Girl: Kallie is a rare (anti)heroic example. She's an assassin, murderous, and cruel to her enemies but also deeply loyal to her friends as well as the church who protected her.
  • Dark Fantasy: Takes place in the world of Delham, which is a Low Fantasy world undergoing a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Necrolords want the Artifact of Doom the Emperor stole from them.
  • Does Not Like Men: Downplayed Trope with Kallie. She likes the monks and her father. Every other man can go screw himself. It doesn't help almost every one she meets who isn't a monk is an asshat.
  • The Dragon: Tyril is the Execution of the Necro-Lords.
  • The Empire: Emperor Valtore's Empire is a pretty classical example thereof.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Rava the Raven is mysterious to both her employers as well as her enemies.
  • Evil Chancellor: Sorel is this for Emperor Valtore. It's complicated by the fact Valtore is evil himself.
  • Evil Overlord: Emperor Valtore is one of these, though he's far-far more amendable than the Necro-Lords.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Every Necro-Lord is this by nature.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Emperor and the Necrolords are both pretty much monsters. The Emperor has an edge, though, because he's not trying to kill everyone. Add Duke Freye to the list about halfway through the books, being every bit as bad as the other two.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Empire is the Evil while the Necro-Lords are Oblivion. Subverted when Duke Freye shows up and is willing to side with Oblivion if it means becoming Emperor.
  • God Is Good: Oraua, Goddess of Peace is this. Dirge has a complicated relationship with her.
  • Good Shepherd: Every monk qualifies for this.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Dirge is an assassin who works for the Emperor but only so she can have enough money to keep her monk friends and their refugees from starving.
  • I Have Your Wife: More like, "I have your monks/surrogate family." Happens TWICE.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Rava is this for the Emperor, completely unconscious of her beauty or nakedness in human form. Her master, however, is well aware of it.
  • Low Fantasy: Somewhat mixed as there doesn't seem to be much magic available not in the hands of the villains.
  • Necromancer: Pretty much the hat of any Necro-Lord.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Necro-Lords seem to be composed of these. Subverted. They're actually after a mystical artifact the Emperor stole and destroying the land is a secondary goal.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're fast, strong, and controlled by necromancers.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Dirge seems like she'd be a perfectly nice and stable girl, albeit troubled, if she didn't need to kill many people very painfully.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Subverted as Kallie puts the needs and protection of the monks and the refugees above her need for revenge against the Emperor.
    • But the moment the monks and refugees aren't in danger? She goes right back to revenge.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Subverted with Behr who gets killed by Kallie. Apparently, it never occurred to him his new patrons couldn't protect him, not that they wouldn't.
  • Saintly Church: The monks are committed to helping the homeless, impoverished, and endangered in the Zombie Apocalypse out of genuine altruism.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Emperor is dead, Duke Freye is dead, and a bunch of their minions are dead. Not a damn thing else has changed.
  • The Starscream: Sorel is this for Emperor Valtore and they both know it. Rava is this for them both.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Poor Kallie is this in a nutshell, being ten pounds of trauma in one bag due to her family's death, being made a slave, and living in a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • 0% Approval Rating: The Emperor is hated by the people of Delham even though he's the only thing keeping them from getting eaten by ghouls. This is because they all suspect rightly he can't do a thing to protect them and he's a vicious tyrant.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Necro-Lords have destroyed most of humanity with their undead armies, forcing the survivors to live in walled compounds.