Bretwalda and Other Adventures

bretwaldaFor the first time in the last half dozen years I missed GenCon. Between the excellence of the Writer’s Symposium — which is growing at a phenomenal rate — the friends and fans to meet or reconnect with, and the sheer size of the game room stuffed full of wonderful things to see, it has become one of my must stops. Especially since it’s the only large convention that’s only a few hours away.

Alas, a perfect storm of events crowned by a family wedding made it impossible for me to attend this year. I did swing through Indianapolis the weekend of GenCon on the way to that wedding, but didn’t get anywhere close to downtown.

While my daughter practiced her driving and my wife coached her, I was in the back seat. Occasionally I managed some writing, but that proved hard given my daughter’s preferred choice of music and its volume, so I ended up reading instead. I finally started in on Brewalda, a collection of twelve stories about a mystical axe forged to safeguard England. The stories date from the pulp days and have reprinted only last year, for the first time. I picked it up because I’d heard about the tales for years. So far, so good, although the first two haven’t bowled me over yet with inventiveness.

I’m also working my way through another one of those pulp treasures I mentioned earlier in the year. I’ll have more details about that later. Right now I’m especially enjoying a swashbuckler by an author I’ve never heard about before.

A major reorganization is taking place here at Jones central. We’re finally getting around to finishing our walk-out basement, which means yours truly has to sort and organize a bunch of stuff that’s accumulated over the years. Between that and the parade of house guests things have been busy, but I’m still working away on revising my eighth novel, and I’m occasionally performing some final tests on my friend Dean’s B-17 game. I need to step up the pace on both while maintaining the basement reorganization.

6 Comments on “Bretwalda and Other Adventures

  1. I’m just two tales in myself, and they were solid, if unremarkable stories. At least they are fun and readable, which can’t be said about a lot of old pulp fiction of that era. I look forward to more soon..,

    • Yeah, that was pretty much my sense. I’m going to keep going, though. After all, the first Khlit the Cossack story isn’t all that. I guess the second, though, is a marked improvement, and the third even better, and then Lamb hits his stride with only the fourth. I doubt many writers are in that league…

  2. I find Lamb very readable and great fun. I have not read a lot, but I have enjoyed every story so far-no wonder REH was a fan!
    Hoping Bretwalda will the spot for me in the same way. What I am really craving is some barbarian tribes vs Roman Empire stuff, but from the barbarian perspective. In fact, I want to write some of my own, since most of material I have encountered has the Romans cast as heroes, and the tribesmen as villains. Looking for some old school blood ‘n’ thunder pulp fun…

    • Which Lamb tales did you start with?

      I’m told by friend and pulp aficionado Ralph Grasso (the biggest Bretwalda fan I know) that his personal favorite of the tales is the one set at the time of The Crusades, so I’ll expect it to be a high point.

      I’ve been racking my brain since I saw your message last night, trying to think of some tales from the barbarian point of view against Rome that aren’t REH. I’m away from home and therefore my bookshelf, but I honestly can’t think of any. There are plenty of Lamb stories with Cossacks or Mongolians as the protagonists, and they were certainly viewed as barbarians by the cultures they encountered. But as to Roman era stories with the Romans as bad guys and the barbarians as heroes… There’s got to be some stuff out there. I’ll drop some pulp friends a line and see if they know.

      If you’re feeling the itch to try your hand at some swashbucklers, go for it! It can be a lot of fun (except when it isn’t…)

      • I have Swords from the West and Wolf of the Steppes. I have read a few tales from both, but cannot quote what ones off hand-at work and too far from my bookshelf!
        I have read Calgaich the Swordsman by Gordon D Shirreffs, and it is an excellent Celts vs Rome pulp novel. I love Bran Mak Morn, of course. But it is tough to find others like it. I’ve written some short S&S for fun (one story published), but I would love to try my hand at some pulpy historical tales. My biggest fear is getting the history wrong! Readers catch that stuff, and let you know! Perhaps a Germanic warrior from north of the Rhine, or a mercenary from Gaul kicking up fuss with the legions, or a …well, you get it.
        I chat a bit with Ralph and Morgan Holmes on FB, they could point me in the general direction, I’m sure.

        • Morgan and Ralph would be the first people I’d speak with.

          I’ve always meant to look into Calgaich. Hope to read it some day.

          Man, worrying about getting the history wrong — I can relate to that. Every time I write a Dabir and Asim story I’m afraid of that…

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