A Cormac Fitzgeoffrey adventure.
: The Cast of An Ax
White dawn surged out of the Orient to break in rose-red billows on the hills of Outremer. The rich tints softened the rugged outlines, deepened the blue wastes of the sleeping desert.
The castle of the baron Conrad Von Gonler frowned out over a wild and savage waste. Once a stronghold of the Seljuk Turks, its metamorphosis into the manor of a Frankish lord had abated none of the Eastern menace of its appearance. The walls had been strengthened and a barbican built in place of the usual wide gates. Otherwise the keep had not been altered.
Now in the dawn a grim, dark figure rode up to the deep, waterless moat which encircled the stronghold, and smote with iron-clad fist on hollow-ringing shield until the echoes reverberated among the hills. A sleepy man-at-arms thrust his head and his pike over the wall above the barbican and bellowed a challenge.
The lone rider threw
Renegade Irish chieftain Cormac FitzGeoffrey is prowling the Holy Land in the uneasy truce after the 3rd crusade. He is looking for his old liege lord. His search sends him after a outlaw Arab, who hopes to betray both Saladin and the remaining Christians and carve an empire of his own in the chaos.
Great plotting and description, with lots of gore. The only hero who comes close to Cormac is Conan.
A good short story set in the Kingdom of Jerusalum in the days of Richard I. Fast paced with a nice twist. REH was at his best when writing about the crusades