REVIEW: Temple of the Hyena by Mark Brendan

Last Updated on October 31, 2021

Unclaimed treasures remain hidden deep within the desert of Egypt. Riches even tomb robbers dare not plunder due to its famed curse. It waits undisturbed until one band of desperate military men acquire its map. Temple of the Hyena by Mark Brendan is a classic tale of treasure hunting. An account of those daring enough to face true evil for the sake of wealth.

The Temple of the Hyena by Mark BrendanTemple of the Hyena begins right when Napoleon lost the Siege of Acre of 1799. This novella follows the account of Jean-Francois Durand, a surgeon in Napoleon’s army. He is stuck in a never-ending cycle of performing amputations and digging shrapnel out of his comrades only to send them directly back into battle. Jean-Francois is exhausted with war. He is further grieved when he learns his fiancé is gravely ill. Determined to desert the army and start new lives, he and a few others purchase a treasure map. Blinded by the promise of lost treasure, they trek deep into the desert. They must survive the harsh terrain and the ancient nightmare awaiting them.

Mark Brendan developed an uncomplicated but rather distinctive character in Jean-Francois Durand. Jean-Francois holds his oath as a surgeon to the highest regards. Often, we see his commitment to healing others overriding his orders from the military. His frustration with his grim predicament is telling. I appreciated the care Mark Brendan took in portraying Jean-Francois in his novella. The horrors presented in Temple of the Hyena is amplified because of Jean-Francois’s character.

Mark Brendan’s Temple of the Hyena can be read easily within a quiet afternoon. Brendan’s prose is simplistic, flows naturally, and pairs well with his straightforward story and characters. With less than a hundred pages, Brendan progresses his story by not lingering too much on scenery. I’d argue certain key details had been needlessly sacrificed to speed up the plot. Some parts begged for more tension and build up.

I’ve craved fantasy stories set in Egypt ever since I first watched the 1999’s film The Mummy. I want to feel engulfed by Egypt’s vast desert and inspired by its celebrated pyramids. Temple of the Hyena fell a smidge short in achieving this. I wanted more cultural references and more time exploring Cairo and the actual Temple of the Hyena. Instead, Mark Brendan focuses more on detailing lore and the mysteries in his story. Temple of the Hyena is pleasantly full of creative mythology.

Temple of the Hyena is a return to fundamental story telling. Its plot embodies the oldest adventure; of men fighting monsters. Mark Brendan’s concise and intriguing storyline made for a fast read. I just wanted more from it.

Read Temple of the Hyena by Mark Brendan

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Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie Chi Lough

Carrie resides in Colorado with her other half and their puppy, Irwin. She is always searching for dark SFF and horror stories to bury herself in.