Grimly Eric John Stark slogged toward that ancient Martian city—with every step he cursed the talisman of Ban Cruach that flamed in his blood-stained belt. Behind him screamed the hordes of Ciaran, hungering for that magic jewel—ahead lay the dread abode of the Ice Creatures—at his side stalked the whispering spectre of Ban Cruach, urging him on to a battle Stark knew he must lose!
ely, a dark giant with a face of stone. From time to time he made his beast curvet, and laughed at himself inwardly for doing it.
They came at length to a shelter larger than the others, but built exactly the same and no more comfortable. A spear was thrust into the snow beside the entrance, and from it hung a black pennant with a single bar of silver across it, like lightning in a night sky. Beside it was a shield with the same device. There were no guards.
Thord dismounted, bidding Stark to do the same. He hammered on the shield with the hilt of his sword, announcing himself.
"Lord Ciaran! It is Thord--with a captive."
A voice, toneless and strangely muffled, spoke from within.
Thord pushed aside the hide curtain and went in, with Stark at his heels.
* * * * *
The dim daylight did not penetrate the interior. Cressets burned, giving off a flickering brilliance and a smell of strong oil. The floor of packed snow was carpeted with furs, mu
It's an alternate universe type of novella, with a hero similar to John Carter of Mars. N'Chaka/Stark is the hero who was raised by animals (like Tarzan) in the temperate, twilight zone of Mercury, then captured and civilized. He's a mercenary on Mars now, dealing with humanoid Martians and their creepy pre-humanoid race enemies.
It's well-written (by a woman) and the characters are all distinct, which is helpful when they show up later in the story. It's pulp: non-stop action, impossible odds, unspeakable evil.
One caution: The illustrator exaggerated the Black Amazon's breast size in the accompanying cover painting.
First - regadless of the title this isn't really science fiction. It's more swords and sorcery- think Rings of Sauron rather than Rings of Saturn. Other than that it's sort of like junk food for the brain - not very nutritious, but it certainly tastes good going down.
Regardless of what the title says this isn't truly science fiction - it's actually swords and sorcery - more the Rings of Sauron than the Rings of Saturn. That said - it is an enjoyable piece of pulp fiction - junk food for the brain. Not really nutritious; but at least it tastes good going down.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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