Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Cave of the Dragon (Thurvok, Book 6) by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

Releease date: April 27, 2019
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery

About The Cave of the Dragon


Thurvok, the sellsword, is enjoying a meal with his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Lysha, Meldom's sweetheart whom the adventurers saved from the gallows, when a peasant woman asks them for help. Her young daughter Tali has been chosen to be sacrificed to the dragon that terrorises the area.

Thurvok and his friends want to help her and save Tali. But slaying a dragon is difficult, not to mention dangerous.

This is a short story of 4500 words or 18 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.




In the Succulent Grape tavern in the village of Ilderol, there lounged four adventurers, engaged in deep conversation.
Thurvok the sellsword was a veritable mountain of sinews and muscles, bronze-skinned with dark hair and equally dark eyes. Not a man of many words, Thurvok was content to listen, while gnawing on a leg of roast lamb, which he washed down with wine.
Next to him sat his friend and companion Meldom, cutpurse, thief and occasional assassin, though he did not do that sort of thing anymore. Smooth talking and deadly with a dagger, Meldom was not a man to be crossed. He was shorter and slighter than Thurvok, lithe rather than muscular. His hair was black, his eyes grey and he had the pale skin of the people from the Northern lands. He was just recounting one of his many adventures. Quite possibly, there even was a kernel of truth in his story, though not even Meldom himself knew what precisely it was.
Sharenna, the sorceress, listened with a sceptical look on her face. She was a striking woman, with green eyes and hair the colour of flame. She rarely used her magic, unless there was no other way, and not even her companions knew the true extent of her powers. But once Sharenna did unleash her magic, it was advisable to be either on her side or run very far away very fast.
Lysha was the fourth member of the quartet and the only one among them who was not a fighter. A slight young woman with pale skin and long black hair, she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Meldom’s childhood sweetheart. Two moons ago, Meldom, Thurvok and Sharenna had rescued her from the gallows, where she was to hang for a crime she hadn’t committed. As Lysha could not possibly go home after that, she now travelled with the adventurers and had quickly gotten used to a life that was far different from her sheltered upbringing. What was more, she had inherited her father’s head for business and proved to be surprisingly good at keeping whatever coins the quartet earned together.
“…and then I ran from the tomb as if the devil himself were after me,” Meldom finished his story. Thurvok and Sharenna laughed, while Lysha regarded him with adoring eyes.
“All right,” Meldom said, “But before I tell you about my next adventure, I need a drink, cause my throat is parched.”
He raised his hand.
“Innkeeper, more wine.”
“But this is the last jug,” Lysha whispered to him, “Otherwise, we won’t have enough left to hire transport to take us to Oms Karod.”
Meldom smiled at her. “Of course, my love.”
Thurvok and Sharenna exchanged a look. The Meldom they’d travelled with these past few moons had always been a hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-loving man. But Lysha had softened him. For her sake, he tried to be the hero she thought he was.
A person approached the table. “About time, innkeeper,” Thurvok grumbled and reached for the wine.
But as he turned to the person, he found himself faced not with the innkeeper, but with a woman. She was clad in peasant garb and had clearly been pretty once, though her beauty had long since faded due to a life of hard work and few luxuries. Her eyes were reddened, as if she’d been crying all day long.
“I beg your pardon, good sirs,” the woman said, “But is it true that you are adventurers?”
Thurvok and Meldom exchanged a glance. “That depends on who’s asking.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot my manners.” The woman curtseyed. “My name is Ilsede and come from the neighbouring village. And I…” The woman cats down her eyes. “…I need your help. For I don’t know what to do.” Ilsede burst out in tears.
“Why don’t you sit down and tell us what the problem is?” Sharenna said and pointed at an empty chair, while Lysha reached into her bag and handed the woman a kerchief.
“My daughter Tali…” Ilsede sobbed, “…she’s only thirteen and she will be sacrificed to the dragon Khadaragh tomorrow.”
“A dragon?” Lysha exclaimed. She turned to Meldom. “But dragons are just a myth, aren’t they?”
Until recently, Thurvok would have thought the same. But during his travels he had seen many things he’d previously thought impossible.
“The world is larger and stranger than you’d think,” he said.

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About Richard Blakemore:

Richard Blakemore (1900 – 1994) was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. Nowadays, he is best remembered for creating the Silencer, a masked vigilante in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, during the hero pulp boom of the 1930s. But Richard Blakemore also wrote in many other genres, including an early sword and sorcery series about the adventures of a sellsword named Thurvok and his companions.
Richard Blakemore's private life was almost as exciting as his fiction. He was a veteran of World War I and II as well as a skilled sportsman and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s. He may also have been the person behind the mask of the real life Silencer who prowled New York City between 1933 and 1942, fighting crime, protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, though nothing has ever been proven.

Richard Blakemore was married for more than fifty years to Constance Allen Blakemore and the couple had four children.


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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey.


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