Goombah Gumbo Press
Sept 4th,2013

Thomas Pluck wrote a love letter. It’s true. I’ve read it. It’s not mushy, and he sure didn’t draw baby angels holding bows and arrows in the margins either. But even without the fluff, rest assured BLADE OF DISHONOR is a love letter.

BLADE is a love letter to all the great action adventure stories that so many fans hold dear. It’s also a loving tribute to The Greatest Generation, who fought overseas in World War II. Enjoyable as all get out, this globe trotting adventure tale grows more and more complex as you go from chapter to chapter. My admiration grew as it dawned on me how skillfully this bombastic tale was being told. There’s a lot of story happening in between the fight scenes. So you better be paying attention.

Ex-MMA fighter “Rage Cage” Reeves has just finished his tour of duty in the Mideast and has come back home to Minnesota, only to find the old hometown has grown a bit worn around the edges. The Ford plant has closed down, leaving a lot of good men with nothing but time on their hands. Reeves has a confrontation with the town sheriff, who used to be the star quarterback for his high-school team. Reeves also cracked a bottle alongside his head back in the day, ruining his chances to go pro. Needless to say, the sheriff still holds a grudge. Reeves then heads home and reunites with his grandpa Butch. Butch is the man that raised Reeves, and grandpa is now at the center of a decades long cold war with the Japanese that has just turned hot.

It seems that Butch has been in possession of an ancient Japanese sword that he took home with him from his time fighting overseas. And now the heir of it’s original owner wants it back.
As the first section ends in fire and destruction, what could very well have been a satisfying story then starts to grow further in scope and complexity. This is Pluck’s first novel, and it’s clear that not only does he genuinely love his subject matter (MMA fighting, WWII history, ninjas, etc.) but he’s putting his all into the story. This is more than a tale of old men living in past glories, or Minnesota towns that are on the edge of blowing away in the winter winds. This is a story of wild women filled with endless depths of courage, evil Asian warlords seeking a return to glories past. Honorable men held hostage by their anger and rage, and secret sects of warriors keeping the old ways alive in secret villages nestled on mountaintops.

Pluck has taken all of these genres, and shoved them onto the page. BLADE OF DISHONOR is the result. If this had been done by someone who didn’t love the source material as much as Pluck does, all of these pieces would have hit the page and gone nowhere. Instead, all of these pieces fit together properly. I was continually surprised where the story was taking me, and very satisfied when I turned the final page. BLADE OF DISHONOR is Thomas Pluck’s first novel. Here’s hoping we don’t have long to wait until the second.

Dan Malmon