Review: Legion: Skin Deep

Legion: Skin Deep Book Cover
Legion: Skin Deep Legion Book 2 Speculative Orion Publishing Group Unabridged Audiobook 4 hrs and 23 mins Audible

Episode 2 in the Legion series expands the back story a little and drops our protagonist into a new mystery on the fringes of science. Shady characters, hitmen, corporate dealings, science and religion are all intertwined with Sanderson’s usual pacing of revealing the layers of this mystery one by one. The denoument did feel a little “Midsomer Murders” despite the core speculative fiction but we can’t ask for everything!

Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion’, is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialised skills.

Here is an excerpt from the book, courtesy of Brandon Sanderson’s website:

“So . . .” Yol said. “I have an issue I might need help with.”

“Finally!” J.C. said. “This had better not involve trying to make people listen to that awful music of his.” He paused. “Actually, if we need a new form of torture . . .”

“Does this job involve a woman named Zen?” I asked.

“Who?” Yol frowned.

“Professional assassin,” I replied. “She was watching me at dinner.”

“Could be wanting a date,” Yol said cheerfully.

I raised an eyebrow.

“Our problem,” Yol said, “might involve some danger, and our rivals are not above hiring such . . . individuals. She’s not working for me though, I promise you that.”

“This job,” I said. “Is it interesting?”

Yol grinned. “I need you to recover a corpse.”

“Oooo . . .” J.C. said.

“Hardly worth our time,” Tobias said.

“There’s more,” Ivy said, studying Yol’s expression.

“What’s the hitch?” I asked Yol.

“It’s not the corpse that is important,” Yol said, leaning in. “It’s what the corpse knows.”


This is the second outing for Stephen Leeds, our gifted protagonist. This tale of speculative fiction revolves around the theft of a corpse. Not just any corpse, but one subject to a specialised form of genetic modification that allows it to double as a data store.

Being about 4 hours in length, it runs at approx double the length of the initial novella and allows us more time to build out on Leeds’ world with media coverage, medical studies (of him) and the occasional back-reference to other escapades and connections he has made.

It contained shady characters, hitmen, corporate dealings, science and religion, and the layers of this mystery are steadily revealed one by one. The denoument did feel a little “Midsomer Murders” despite the core speculative fiction but we can’t ask for everything! As with the first instalment we delve into fringe science – in this case, gene splicing to modify cells to store data – and the implications this may have, though we don’t get bogged down with hard science.

It would have been great to spend more time examining the connection and history with his previous partner/girlfriend, Sandra, who apparently really understood him and helped him get his aspects under control, yet mysteriously left him. I am sure this thread will be a long arc across the series and be more prevalent in the TV adaptation.

Legion III will be on my reading list when it’s published and I’d recommend both books in the series so far as a good mystery based around speculative science fiction.


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By Edward

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    About me

    About 40 years ago, I discovered role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It revealed a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi and feed the escapist dreamer inside.

    Over time, I played (and story-led - marked with *) many systems including Call of Cthulhu*, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons*, Middle Earth, In Nomine*, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals*, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade*, and a couple of systems my own devising (Medieval* and Parody*).

    I explored live-action role-playing – eventually running my own club and creating my own LARP systems (Fools Gold and Dream Conquest) – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty, writing over 500 individual live adventures over the period (usually weekly), many linked into the world events of the fantasy land we created. I also volunteered for Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust at their main LARP events (special effects at the Ritual Circle), and did a little script work, cameos and improv for Curious Pastimes. I was also the South East's Editor (UK) for the LARP magazine The Adventurer. The biggest event I ran was a 10-month modern-day "murder mystery" LARP set around parts of Kent where characters were "always-on" and could get updates and interactions at any time outside of scheduled events. That was in the 1990s.

    I was also the artistic director for English Heritage for their live Halloween Horrors events at Fort Amherst in Kent from 1998-1999.

    Now, I write as the mood takes me with occasional competitions and challenges, and this year (2020) I will be taking on #NaNoWriMo.

    Here's to the future!