By Steven L. Shrewsbury
“Are you ready to meet your father, the devil?” – Robert E. Howard
Rogan, a savage from an antediluvian era mostly forgotten in our history swaggers forth this year in two new novels. Curse of the Bastards (co-written with Brian Keene from Apex Books) sees an aging, jaded Rogan entering the land of Nodd to rescue his nephew, battling demons, would be gods, and various terrible folks.
Killer of Giants (written by myself solo from Seventh Star Press) sees Rogan at age twenty-four, battling Nephilims, Chimeras, demons in human flesh, and bad folks as he fights save his father & sister from a fate worse than death. Swords clash and bodies are carved up as the blood, magick & monsters rage. But these books are more than just the usual sword & sorcery or high fantasy romp.
In Curse of the Bastards we see the older Rogan, cynical by a harsh life full of lies, loss and violence that had made him ponder his own eventual fate. Will he be disremembered after he dies, relegated unto bar ballads and inaccurate tales like his hero, Gorias La Gaul? For all he puts himself through, will he be overlooked and was any of it worth it?
In Killer of Giants, the younger Rogan strives to survive after a clash where his fellow mercenaries all fall but him. This Rogan has hope for the future in a grim world, but still fights on to save what is important to him, his own blood kin. Here, he doesn’t care what anyone might ever think of him, and doesn’t realize his acts of savagery and heroism will become the stuff of legends.
Rogan isn’t always kind. He isn’t Clark Kent or even Bruce Wayne for that matter (nor is he Conan or Kane). He borders on antihero at times, but is from primitive means. As the walls fall about him, he sometimes replaces the bricks, but often, smashes open a new way to escape through.
Why should you, brave reader, check these titles out? They are escapism from this world and an exciting thriller, filled action, adventure, passion and humor so dark it could hide the stars.
Come sit with me and I’ll tell you some tales. Let me spin a yarn about faraway places and people that might make one shake the head, but ones one won’t soon forget, and you won’t regret it. Though the realm Rogan wades though is grim, it isn’t as tenebrous as the news these days. Pour a drink and sit back, open up a book. Come trod through the bloody pages of history with me for a while. You might even learn something.
STEVEN L. SHREWSBURY lives, works, and writes in rural Illinois. More than 360 of his short stories have appeared in print or electronic media, along with more than 100 poems. Nine of his novels have been released, with more on the way. His books run from sword & sorcery (Overkill, Thrall, Bedlam Unleashed) to historical fantasy (Godforsaken) extreme horror (Hawg, Tormentor, Stronger Than Death) to horror-westerns (Hell Billy, Bad Magick, Last Man Screaming). He loves books, British TV, guns, movies, politics, sports and hanging out with his sons. He’s frequently outdoors, looking for brightness wherever it may hide.