Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Flame and Crimson, a review

Having just finished Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: a History of Sword-and-Sorcery, published in 2019 by Pulp Hero Press, I can now expand on my initial post of a few days back. I am doing this because I think this books deserves a wide circulation, and so we need to talk about it, and because I got wind of some less-than-positive opinions going around, and I’d like to address those, too.

So, for starters, let’s see what you get in the package.

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The many children of Conan

As sometimes happens, the mailman delivered this morning a packet that caused me to change my plans for the rest of the day – or the next two days probably. The packet being an Amazon bubble-wrap envelope containing a copy of Brian Murphy’s Flame and Crimson: a History of Sword-and-Sorcery, published in 2019 by Pulp Hero Press (as far as I know there is no ebook edition).

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Re-reading the Three Musketeers

Yesterday a friend informed me that the most recent Italian translation of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers was selling for 99 cents on Amazon in digital format. Now I have my old copy here somewhere in some box, but I did the math and realized it’s been something like thirty-six years since I last read the mother of all swashbuckler novels, and so I sacrificed one buck and got me the ebook.

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So you've dreamed of being a mercenary…

I have just received a gift of books and chocolate from a far-away friend. It’s the sort of thing that’s good for morale, because yesterday was a bad day – sometimes these coincidences happen, and they never cease to surprise me. We live in a strange, but not necessarily hostile world.

One of the books in the box was a well-beloved classic I mentioned I wanted to re-read, another is a war story that looks quite exciting, and the third… oh, the third I am starting right away, and filing it under research.

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Supernatural Christie

I am not an Agatha Christie fan. That was my aunt, in our family – she had been through the whole Christie canon, and could quote you chapter and verse of every story and novel, forward and backward.
I read about a dozen novels, but I was more of a Dorothy Sayers kind of guy. Oh, I saw the movies and liked ’em, even if I still find Miss Marple insufferable, and I am looking forward to the forthcoming The Pale Horse, mostly because it seems to have a folk-horror angle and features a few actors I like a lot.

But I recently received as a gift a digital copy of possibly the only Agatha Christie I was really interested in reading – The Hound of Death and other stories, a collection of twelve short stories, published as a volume in the UK in 1933.
A collection of more-or-less supernatural stories.

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A great novel, and dignity

First things first: I am reading a great novel, and you should read it too. Because it’s a great fantasy novel from a good writer, and because it’s the sort of Eastern-themed sword & sorcery that if you are reading these pages you’d probably like.
Also, for a few days it’s priced at 99 cents on Amazon.

The book is called Never Die, and was written by Rob J. Hayes. Five champions are called back from death to help the God of Death settle a score with an impossible-to-kill enemy.
Just dig the cover.

Yes, I know.
Go buy it, and read it.

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The Rose of Tibet

As expected, the effect of Christopher Fowler’s The Book of Forgotten Authors is making itself felt, causing my reading list to explode as I discover writers I have so far ignored.
First it was Margery Allingham, and now it’s the turn of Lionel Davidson.

A writer that was highly praised by Graham Greene and often compared to Eric Ambler, Lionel Davidson had three Gold Dagger Awards and was considered for a while a highly favoured contender, if an outsider, for the title of best British thriller writer.
One of his books was even made into a TV series by the BBC and his last book, published in 1994, received rave reviews.
But then for some reason he fell out of sight.

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