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Gentle Necromancy

by Matt Dukes

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skull and roses still life against black background .jpg

Paving The Road With Good Intentions

Lionel Pureheart’s family are paladins dedicated to fighting evil. He knows that raising a town from the dead isn’t standard operating procedure, but that was an accident. Though these undead are very nice people, it’s still the sort of thing that gets everybody cleansed with holy fire.

When a threat greater than his order has ever faced emerges, Lionel must decide whether to keep his secret safe from his family and find a way to defeat the growing evil, or to call his family for help and risk his new friends being destroyed at their hands.

At least there’s pie.

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A promising debut about a would-be paladin trying his best, GENTLE NECROMANCY tells the tale of Lionel Pureheart, the least-paladin among a family of paladins who expect something from him he’s not cut out to give.

Lionel wants a cozy life of cooking and cleaning, but he still repeatedly tries (and repeatedly fails) to do his family of holy champions proud. Worst of all, Lionel has a secret predilection and affinity for the dark arts, and when that secret comes out, it will break EVERYTHING.

The series promises a climactic showdown between families—biological and found—and I’m excited to see where it goes. Beneath the radiant fire and shining armor, this novel tells a story of crushing family expectation, anxiety vs. hope, and finding your own path, all following the most adorable, kindest-hearted paladin/necromancer you’ll ever read.

Dukes’s debut novel plays with classic fantasy tropes and inverts expectations in a fresh and pleasing way. The (unearthed) bones are there of a solid fantasy tale, as well as the foundation of a spooky but heart-felt voice. Dukes is one to watch.

Eric Scott de Bie
author of the Shadowbane series

About the Author

Matt Dukes once gave his third grade teacher a magic sword made out of notebook paper. She appreciated the thought.


He currently lives with his family in the Midwest, and spends his days writing code and going to high school sporting events specifically to watch his son play Europe’s “The Final Countdown” in the pep band.


In past decades, he has been known to write for such RPG blogs as Stupid Ranger and Critical Hits, the combined efforts of the latter winning the 2011 Gold Ennie award for Best Blog.


This novel is an attempt to impress his 15-year-old self by reusing content he made back in the early 90s. It also represents the realization that if he writes his own story, no game master can stop him.

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