High adventure…

April 3, 2008 at 11:13 pm (Writing)

There are all kinds of fantasy. You’ve got Tolkein’s overshadowed, sweeping vistas. There’s Robert Jordan’s cyclical world, Terry Goodkind’s magic-filled lands and Tad Williams’ world where the magic is much more subdued and subtle.

And then, of course, there’s sword and sorcery. This subgenre comes and goes in popularity, but never really dies. You can beat it with a six-foot-five barbarian, set it ablaze with a fireball and run it through with a sword, but still it remains. And for that I’m grateful. It’s a fun, exciting genre that deserves its place in the literary world. I just wish there were more markets for it.

Flashing Swords is one of the places keeping this writing alive. I’ve made a couple of recent sales there myself, and plan to try for more once they re-open to submissions.

In the meantime, however, they’ve got a whole book filled with all the swords and sorcery you could want.

Return of the Sword is a brand new anthology of blood-pounding, spine-tingling stories by some of fantasy’s most critically acclaimed Sword and Sorcery authors.

Stacey Berg, Bill Ward, Phil Emery, Jeff Draper, Nicholas Ian Hawkins, David Pitchford, Ty Johnston, Jeff Stewart, Angeline Hawkes, Robert Rhodes, E.E. Knight, James Enge, Michael Ehart, Thomas M. MacKay, Christopher Heath, Nathan Meyer, S.C. Bryce, Allen B. Lloyd, William Clunie, Steve Goble, Bruce Durham, and Harold Lamb present you with enough fast paced adventure to keep you reading for hours.

A hand painted, wrap around cover by fantasy artist Johnney Perkins ensures that Return of the Sword will not only be enjoyable to read, but also look good on your coffee table or bookshelf.

Too long have the halls of fantasy been dominated by packs of weak-kneed elves hunting goblins and doughty dwarves mining for gold. Return now to the days of true adventure. Unsheath your sword and enter if you dare!
For purchase info click here:  http://cyberwizardproductions.googlepages.com/returnofthesword

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Below is but a sample of the action to be found in Return of the Sword. This excerpt is from “The Red Worm’s Way: A Tale of Morlock Ambrosius” by James Enge:

Morlock’s interest in gold was slight indeed; he made it by the boxful whenever he needed some, which was not often. But, as a maker of things, he had once had some interest in coins. He glanced instinctively at the discs in her hands.

They were of a type new to him. Each design was different, and some were horrible – he could see headless corpses and hanged men on a few of the gold cartwheels she held out to him. The coins might be solid and perhaps they were gold, but he doubted they were good in any generally accepted meaning of the word. They stank of evil magic.

He was about to say as much when one of the coins, showing what appeared to be a crow or raven wearing a crown, winked at him. It could have been a trick of the light, but he didn’t think so.

“What will you take for that one?” he asked, pointing at the crow-coin.

Guile entered the eyes of the grieving woman. “That is an especially valuable one, sir. They say the Crow King will do any service for the person who holds this coin.”

Morlock grunted skeptically and said, “How much for it?”

“I am not selling these coins, sir. I’m offering them to pay for a service. You cannot buy this coin; you may earn it.”

“By keeping the Strigae from chewing up your husband’s corpse tonight.”

“Please do not speak so disrespectfully of the Sisters of the Red Worm (I summon them not!). But that is the general idea.”

Morlock thought idly about knocking her down, taking the coin and running away with it. But his conversation with the woman had drawn a crowd of interested listeners; he doubted he would get away clean. Besides, stealing magical gold often had unintended consequences. On the other hand, he could just say, “No,” and walk away. But it occurred to him that he wasn’t going to do that.

“All right,” he said. “Keep the others; I just want that coin with the crow.”

“I will give it to you tomorrow morning.”

“If I keep your husband’s corpse intact.”

“Oh no. Not at all. If you stay on watch through the night I will give you the coin, even if the Unnamed Ones violate poor Thelyphron. But . . .”

“But?”

“Our law says that whatever parts are missing from a dead body after a vigil must be made up by the watcher.”

“So if poor Thelyphron’s nose is missing in the morning, he will be buried with mine? Likewise liver or testicles?”

“Yes. That is only fair, wouldn’t you say?”

Morlock considered the question briefly. “No. Where do I stand, or sit, this wake?”

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2 Comments

  1. Erik said,

    I love the whole hell fire, army of the undead thing going on in that cover.

  2. hamstersbane said,

    That is one of the best covers I’ve ever seen, small or large press.

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