East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The scholar first, the fictionist second


Today marks the 57th anniversary of the death of Harold Lamb, one of the patron saints of Karavansara.
He was a writer of pulp fiction – a lot of his works were published in Adventure – much admired by Robert E. Howard among others, that later became so famous as an author of biographies and historical novels that his lighter and more adventurous side was almost completely forgotten.
He did work with Cecil Be Demille on his The Crusades, as a historical consultant.
It is not the first time I mention him here on Karavansara, and I am sure WordPress will add links at the bottom of this page.

Curiously enough, in my house the first reader of Lamb was my mother, that as a young woman working as a secretary enjoyed a lot Lamb’s books about the Crusades and Alexander the Great and many other historical figures.
Such titles have been out of print in my country from more than five decades.

I discovered him much later, in the excellent collections that Howard Andrew Jones edited for Bison Books. The four “Swords from…” volumes are my favorite (I am not too keen on Lamb’s Cossacks tales).
Lamb’s language and rhythm is the one I hear in my head when I write my Tales of the Frontier (the next one of which is long overdue).

Today, to remember this great writer, I suggest you try and read something of his if you never did.
If you are cheap – as I am – there is a nice Harold Lamb Megapack by Wildside Press that collects 18 stories by the author, and is a nice introduction to his style and themes for less than a buck.
If you are even cheaper, you can check out the books my mother loved, for free, via The Faded Page.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

7 thoughts on “The scholar first, the fictionist second

  1. Lamb was a giant. Thanks for the remembrance.


  2. I think I’ve read pretty much everything by him that’s available. I started with the Historical Fiction about real people/events like Ghengis Khan, the Crusades, etc., in High School but became a Khlit the Cossack fan by the time I graduated. I was even in contact for a while with Howard A. Jones who had the ‘The Curved Saber” website and later put together all the material for the collections of the short stories and Novels published by the University of Nebraska.

    Lamb was the man!!


  3. Great celebration of one of my favorite writers. Hard to believe you don’t like the Cossack tales, but I’m glad you found much else there to like!


  4. Nice celebration of one of my favorite writers. Hard to believe you don’t like the Cossack stories, but I’m delighted that you find much else to enjoy by him!


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.