Sunday, January 23, 2011

Howard's Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures

In the previous post I neglected to mention that the next volume in Del Rey's Robert E. Howard Library is out this coming week.

Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures collects the majority of Howard's medieval-era historical fiction stories, poems, synopses and fragments. Some of the earlier Celtic hero stories are not part of this collection, so there's a hope that they might be included in a future Del Rey volume (or a collection from the Foundation, at least). A list of contents can be found at REHupa.

From the publisher's description:
The immortal legacy of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Cimmerian, continues with this latest compendium of Howard’s fiction and poetry. These adventures, set in medieval-era Europe and the Near East, are among the most gripping Howard ever wrote, full of pageantry, romance, and battle scenes worthy of Tolstoy himself. Most of all, they feature some of Howard’s most unusual and memorable characters, including Cormac FitzGeoffrey, a half-Irish, half-Norman man of war who follows Richard the Lion-hearted to twelfth-century Palestine—or, as it was known to the Crusaders, Outremer; Diego de Guzman, a Spaniard who visits Cairo in the guise of a Muslim on a mission of revenge; and the legendary sword woman Dark Agnès, who, faced with an arranged marriage to a brutal husband in sixteenth-century France, cuts the ceremony short with a dagger thrust and flees to forge a new identity on the battlefield.

Lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist John Watkiss and featuring miscellanea, informative essays, and a fascinating introduction by acclaimed historical author Scott Oden, Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures is a must-have for every fan of Robert E. Howard, who, in a career spanning just twelve years, won a place in the pantheon of great American writers.
In particular, I'm most interested in "Blades for France" and the other Dark Agnes stories, and finally reading "The Shadow of the Vulture", about the Siege of Vienna. This is the story with the character Red Sonya of Rogatino, whose name and red hair was the basis for the Marvel Comics character Red Sonja.

I'm not too sure about the cover painting, but the samples I've seen of the interior illustrations look great.

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