Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures: The List

Rusty Burke has very kindly released the contents for the upcoming (boy oh boy oh boy) Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures on the REHupa website.

I'm excited.  Are you excited?  Because I'm excited.  Excited!

A number of people have been inquiring about the contents of Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures, due from Del Rey in January (as currently scheduled, anyway). So I thought I would try to sneak in a few minutes at the computer and give you a look at what’s included in the book:
Spears of Clontarf
Hawks Over Egypt
The Outgoing of Sigurd the Jerusalem-Farer (v)
The Road of Azrael
The Lion of Tiberias
Gates of Empire
Hawks of Outremer
The Blood of Belshazzar
Red Blades of Black Cathay
The Sowers of the Thunder
The Skull in the Clouds (v)
A Thousand Years Ago (v)
Lord of Samarcand
Timur-lang (v)
Sword Woman
Blades for France
The Shadow of the Vulture
The Road of the Eagles
Untitled Fragment (The Track of Bohemund)
Untitled Synopsis (The Slave-Princess)
Untitled Fragment (The Slave-Princess)
Untitled Fragment (“He knew de Bracy…”)
Untitled Fragment (“The wind from the Mediterranean…”)
Recap of Harold Lamb’s “The Wolf Chaser”
Untitled Fragment (“The Persians had all fled…”)
The Sign of the Sickle (v)
Mistress of Death 
There’s an introduction by Scott Oden, certainly one of my favorite writers of historical fiction (if you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of his Lion of Cairo, put it on your Christmas list!), and an illuminating essay by Howard Andrew Jones, Howard fan, noted authority on Harold Lamb, and himself an author of historical fiction. There’s an interesting conversation between the two of them at the Black Gate site. And of course the book includes my detailed notes on the original texts.
Howard’s historical fiction is, in my opinion, among his very best, so I hope that this book will get a wide readership.

It's an awesome collection.  Now, you might notice there are some omissions in the list, but Rusty has explained over at the REH Forums:

 I sort of arbitrarily imposed a couple of limits on the selection, to keep it manageable. One was that the stories had to be anchored to some actual, recorded historical event or person, and the other was an arbitrary decision to start with "Spears of Clontarf" in 1014 AD. "Two Against Tyre" was set way too early, and not tied to any actual historical people or events. I did violate the rule in an instance or two. "Sword Woman" does not involve any actual people or events, but "Blades for France" does, so that gets Agnes in. And the same sort of thing applies to Cormac Fitzgeoffrey -- he's in because in at least one story there is some actual history. Now of course, by the same token, Solomon Kane could have fit in thanks to "The One Black Stain," "The Return of Sir Richard Grenville," etc., but he already had his own book. REH is just really hard to compartmentalize, y'know.

Can't really argue with that. There are a few other historical adventures like "Swords of the Northern Sea" and "The Isle of Pirate's Doom," but they belong more in a "Celt Collection" and "Fantasy-ish Adventure Collection" respectively.

Now, one thing I think some might express concern about is how much more material is there than Lord of Samarcand and Other Tales of the Old Orient: well, the latter doesn't include "Spears of Clontarf," "Sword Woman," "Blades for France," or "Mistress of Death," nor the poems "The Outgoing of Sigurd the Jerusalem-Farer," "The Skull in the Clouds," "A Thousand Years Ago," and "The Sign of the Sickle." However, the Bison collection does include "Two Against Tyre" and "The Shadow of the Hun."  Hopefully these latter two will make it into another Del Rey collection... like a Celtic Collection?  Eh?  How about it, guys?

Now if only they could set about restoring that awesome, achingly beautiful Watkiss cover and get rid of that... other one.  I dearly hope it'll at least be put in as an interior illustration, at the very least.


  1. I second that about the cover-or perhaps even another one with hips, hehe.

  2. Sonya - I'm guessing that's Sonya - has an almost vampire look on the cover - looking to tap that market maybe?

    At any rate I'm really looking forward to this one. Looks like some pretty good stuff there and, hopefully, some nice illustrations as well.

    - Aaron

  3. It's supposed to be Dark Agnes on the cover, there was much debate over at conan.com whether it was any good or not

  4. I second that about the cover-or perhaps even another one with hips, hehe.

    The only thing that bothers me about this cover is Agnes' face and haircut (it should be shorter, no more than shoulder length, but according to Jim Keegan this was due to higher-ups wanting the long-flowing hair to remain): the rest isn't too bad, really. Actually, I think it's the eyebrows: far too severe for my liking. Still, I could live with it: it's just that the other choice for the cover is so beautiful that this just pales in comparison.

    Sonya - I'm guessing that's Sonya - has an almost vampire look on the cover - looking to tap that market maybe?

    As Dave said, it's Agnes. Ah well, 'tis just a cover, and at least it isn't Aggie in a mail bikini or with metal breastplates. That would be so much worse.

  5. I'm confused. What was the "other" Watkiss illustration that was achingly beautiful. I don't mind the one that's on the cover right now. It's clearly agnes despite the long hair and manicured eyebrows (he wouldn't be the first to depict her thusly, or with less clothing (*cough*KenKelley*cough*).

    So where do I see the "other image?

  6. The other Watkiss illustration was presented at Howard Days, as far as I know it isn't on the internet (sadly.) Suffice to say, it perfectly illustrates a passage from "Sword Woman".

  7. Pity, that. Still it's a fine looking volume and I'm looking forward to owning a copy once it is available.

  8. It's essential, that's for sure.

  9. I'm really looking forward to this one. It has two of my favorite lesser known REH characters, Dark Agnes of course and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey. I have the stories in other volumes but nice to have them in one place along with all the other great historical fiction.

  10. I was told that Lord of Samarcand and Other Adventure Tales of the Old Orient is out of print, is this true???