Legion from the shadow (Bran Mac Morn)

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Legion from the shadow (Bran Mac Morn)
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see also : Conan: Road of Kings, another pastiche of Howard by Karl Edward Wagner

Karl Wagner wrote this pastiche of Robert E. Howard’s pictish king, Bran Mac Morn during the heyday, resurgence, or whatever it was of Howard reprints in paperback. Wagner wove a tale of swords and sorcery around the very real disappearance of the Roman 9th Legion in Britain and what a tale it is. Despite his success as a writer of heroic fantasy, Wagner always considered himself more a writer of horror than of sword and sorcery. As was his trademark at the time (and predating the “splatterpunks”) there’s particularly shocking and gruesome scene in this book that will surprise you and stick with you. Bran Mac Morn is, unfortunately, not well known among Howard’s great fantasy characters.

This book was intended to be the first of a series and a second, “Queen of the Night” was written but never published in English due to it becoming entangled in the bankruptcy of Zebra Books for whom it was written (although there are rumors that it appeared in Germany). Pity. Some publisher would do us all a service by extracting “Queen of the Night” from limbo. In addition to his own novels and stories of Kane, Wagner went on to write one more Howard pastiche, a celebrated Conan novel titled “Road of Kings.” And although that book is equally worth your attention, “Legion From the Shadows” ranks as an outstanding example of what a pastiche should a work true to the spirit of the original author’s work while respectfully and creatively furthering the mythology of the character. If you’re a Howard fan or a Karl Wagner fan and this book isn’t on your self you have a gap there that seriously needs filling.

 

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