Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Red Man and Others by Remco van Straten and Angeline B. Adams


Re-release date: April 6, 2021
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery

About The Red Man and Others:


'A bit like Robert E. Howard’s gritty historical adventures with a dash of Fritz Leiber’s insouciant humor' - Ngo Vinh-Hoi, co-host of the Appendix N Book Club

Teenage con-artist Sebastien and sell-sword Kaila get even with a cult, while Ymke learns what true strength is. While the women find each other, the boy finds sainthood.

Three journeys of self-discovery; three stories of loss, love and adventure:

In a divided city, two rogues try the small but tough sell-sword Kaila and the teenage con-artist Sebastien don their disguises and play their parts to get their own back on a religious cult.

In the war-torn north of Cruoningha, Ymke and her father live in exile. When her father rescues a giant warrior, Ymke learns that strength is not a matter of muscle alone, and that sometimes the price of hiding is too great.

As Sebastien is elevated to sainthood on the rock of Otasfaust, the Kaila and Ymke find each other, and a new purpose for their talents.

The paperback edition is expanded from the digital edition, and features additional art, flash fic and an interview.

'Intimate, literate and touching scenes erupt into visceral violence; I was reminded of Poe’s Hop-Frog.' - Ricardo Pinto, The Stone Dance of the Chameleon




From: Road to Starohrad


They left hurriedly, supporting those wounded who could walk, leaving those who could not to Kaila's mercy. Their leader was left where he lay, his bowels between his outstretched legs and his life draining away rapidly. Osgot looked at him with mounting horror and he looked back, his eyes wide awake now and seeming more alive than before. His mouth gasped without breathing, then he was still.

'Your sword is ravenous, little one, and you are quick to sate its hunger. Why kill a man, when he's already placed himself in your hands?' Osgot stooped and picked up the paper which the dead man had stamped on. It was tattered and streaked with gore; he carefully rolled it back up and tucked it away. Kaila knelt at the man's dead body and cleaned her sword on his white robes.

'When a viper hisses at you, you lop off its head. If you just step over it, it'll nip at your heels.'

'It might, or it might shed its scaly skin and reveal the butterfly inside. That man there will never be able to atone for whatever his misdeeds were.'

Kaila shrugged and rose, sliding her sword into its sheath.

'Samael, Harld, Gaven,' she turned to some of Master Osgot's men, who had hesitantly come closer, and she indicated the bodies, 'can you clear the road of these so we can be on our way? And can someone get me a cup of strong wine? I've got a banging headache to drown out.' She leaned against the side of the wheel which, miraculously, was still balanced on its broad, iron-clad rim, and massaged her head.

'Excuse me,' a thin voice croaked from beside and below her, 'Would you release a wretch from an awkward position, please?'

A flushed face with blond curls hung, upside-down, from a lanky body. His name was Sebastien,  he said, and the monks had tied him across the wheel some hours earlier.

'I was thirsty and footsore, and fed up with being prodded in the back with their sticks. So I sat down, and said they'd have to tie me to the wheel to get me moving.'

'Which they did.' Osgot clasped his hands before his face. 'You poor, poor boy. Such suffering heaped upon one so young and innocent!'

'Like the bleeding Child himself,' Kaila said. The questions, she thought, could wait until her head had stopped thumping.

They untied him and cleaned him up a bit while the others cleared the road. The wagons were moved to where, as Master Osgot put it, 'death might hang less thickly,' and there they made camp. Once they'd got a fire going and passed bread and dripping around, Kaila finally got that cup of strong wine, shared with Sebastien and Osgot. One by one the others joined them, though sitting at some distance, and without the songs and merriment that were usual for the players' camp. | Amazon UK | Book trailer | Virtual Launch Party


About Angeline Adams and Remco van Straten:

Over the past decade Angeline B. Adams and Remco van Straten have been mainly active in journalism, working for various local and national publications. They wrote about film, theatre and books, and interviewed authors like Neil Jordan, James Ellroy and Anne Rice. The biographical piece on Robert E. Howard they wrote for Fortean Times received a REH Foundation Award nomination.

Now they are focusing on telling their own tales, instead writing about those of others. These stories are firmly rooted in the green hills of Northern Ireland where Angeline grew up, and the heavy clay of the Dutch coast from which Remco came. They are steeped in their shared love for history and folklore, not shying away from treasured genres and format, yet are infused with modern sensibilities and a healthy dose of black humour.

Angeline Adams is involved in disability activism and wrote about disability for various online magazines like The Toast and Disability in Kidlit.

On Ymke, the protagonist of The Red Man and The Return of the Uncomplaining Child, she says: "Ymke's rebellions, like mine, have often been subtle ones: staying alive in a world that oppresses disabled people is also a form of resistance. But sometimes we're both surprised by what we're capable of doing when we really have to - and with the right person by our side.”

Remco co-created Waen Sinne, an anthology which had a lasting impact on Dutch SFF publishing, and was a jury member for the Paul Harland Award, Holland's leading contest for speculative fiction. "I spent a lot of my childhood and teens reading, and discovering Robert E. Howard's Conan stories was a watershed moment. I have always wanted to emulate him, and indeed the title of this collection is a hat-tip to his collection, The Dark Man and Others."

Goodreads Blog | Book trailer | Short story reading


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