[ epub pdf ] Darkness WeavesAuthor Karl Edward Wagner – Multi-channel.co

Once Efrel Was The Beautiful Consort Of A King Now She Is A Hideous Creature Who Lives Only For Revenge She Has Allies To Aid Her, But Only Kane, The Mystic Swordsman, Can Rally Her Forces For Battle Only He Can Deliver The Vengeance She Has Devised In Her Knowledge Of Black Magic Kane is sought out by a mad princess to lead her forces in a revolt against her king husband on the recommendation of a demon It goes about as expected with plenty of betrayal, killing, torture gore to spice up the horror sorcery Truly a great SS adventure This also fills in a bit of Kane s history that is hinted at in Cold Light , the second story in Death Angel s Shadow.This is the Centipede Press edition If reading this in chronological order, it should be read after Mirage in Death Angel s Shadow See my review here for the full chronology Glorious, grim sword sorcery of the 1970s as published in Wagner s preferred 1978 revision, after Powell Press mangled the original in 1970.Efrel, done wrong by, and horribly disfigured by, Emperor Netisten Maril, recruits the legendary warrior Kane red haired, left handed, possibly immortal, well versed in both swordplay and sorcerous arts to command her armies as she seeks vengeance against the Emperor, his daughter M Cori, and the Thovnostian Empire as a whole And she may also have made alliances with certain other beings Kane is a remarkable character, and it s a shame we only got three novels and a couple books worth of short stories about him sort of a grim, Byronic anti hero striding through a distinctly gothic as in the 18th century literary mode, not as in Hot Topic story, in a world full of ancient ruins and the occasional Lovecraftian pre human surviving race My one minor criticism is that for all his strengths as a writer, Wagner really did not have the Gift of Names But that s one of those things that s often surprisingly hard to get right, so I ll forgive him. Superb Cover I ve been meaning to read this ever since I saw a Kane illustration gallery on a Frank Frazetta site while the florid language feels at times dated and I miss the humor from Fritz Leiber s Fafhrd and Grey Mouse series, I must admit that Karl Edward Wagner has style and can weave a truly disturbing tale in a rather tight package.I don t generally respond well to cynical world views and bloodthirsty heroes, but Kane has made a strong impression after only one book While he is in some ways related to Conan or Fafhrd as a brawny barbarian killing machine, I think he should be considered separately for his special abilities, including magical talents and for his biblical backstory that is only hinted at in this first showing I also think Tempus from Thieves World and Logen Nine fingers may have been inspired by Kane.The actual events in Darkness Weaves start as a classic sword and sorcery tale, with a meeting in a disreputable tavern between a drunken assassin and a nobleman in disguise, go from here to a tale of island empires in turmoil, love, treason and plots for revenge Magical forces come to play a greater role in the second half of the book, builting up to a cataclysmic final confrontation that curiously made me think of Shakespearean tragedies, where wars decide not who wins but who is left to contemplate the desolation and to meditate on the darkness inherent to human nature.I would recommend this as required reading for any student of sword sorcery and horror genres. A writer in the wrong time If he had lived in 1920 30 40 he would have been in the same league of Robert E Howard and H P Lovecraft and the lot He was nihilistic, anarchistic and absurdist He died because of alchool I think that explains a lot He sets his work some of it in the same timeline of Conan and Bran Mak Morn He created a hero called Kane This book is one of the three novels and three collections This is the first of the tales So what s good in it Well Kane stories are set in a grim, pre medieval world with rich in history He is powerful, left handed and read hair and have said to killed his brother Abel Cain and Abel anyone and cursed by a mad god with an eternal life of wandering again Cain and Abel He is vulnerable to wounds but heals fast He is both a warrior and a sorcerer.Elric by Moorcock and Conan by Howard are heavealy influenced But as I said this is an excelent character with both the brains but also the strenght This tale was quite good to read The history is these The Thovnosian Empire is made up of several islands that join forces to destroy Red Kane but his body was never found Now Efrel the mutilated ruler of Pellin intends to take over the empire and exact revenge on her enemies Using dark arts she learns that Kane is alivce and due to his genius naval strategy is recruited and regards the all deal an unfinished business There are some references to Kane past and indicated why Kane prefers violence when has other skills Violence is an addiction The dialogues are quite good and the reference to Efrel are quite disgusting in a good way In these tale don t expect good hearted characters I ve been fascinated with Wagner for several years now, actually longer than that but I didn t realize it until recently If you of a certain age you may remember The Science Fiction Book Club and their mail order catalogue from back in the day I distinctly remember ordering several Conan collections and eventually figured out they were edited by Wagner Remember Anyway, Wagner used Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Conan as a starting point for his anti hero warrior pirate sorcerer Although none of this To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. See, Kane is not only a great warrior, he s also got a head on his shoulders Regretfully he considered the priceless volumes of black knowledge which he had been forced to leave behind Well, he had committed most of them to memory, and the Black Priest would recover them presently and return the accursed tomes to their niches within his shadowy vaults.Quite the combo don t you think Kane made his name early on as a pirate so there are several sea battles and the requisite sword fights but this is not a non stop action story There is quite a bit of background laid out in the use of tales told by characters so don t expect to go from one fight to another Wagner also throws in just a smidge of his eldritch love for good measure It can also be pretty dark in spots, there is a scene where a character is chained to a bull so to be dragged through the streets of the town.I really enjoyed this book but I am a self confessed fan of Wagner so your mileage may vary but I think anyone who enjoys SS would like this book. Enjoyed another tale of Kane, learned a bit of the man, and found myself readily enthralled by his plots and machinations It was nice to see him interact with a friend of sorts throughout the entire story Definitely good to see him triumph once , but I experience mixed emotions when he yet again stumbles at the moment of his own personal triumph As he says, It s a game I play An old game with an old enemy While he s a scoundrel with black heart as black as any and blacker than some, I find it would be appealing if he were to actually win out once, allow us witness to his rule.A good, strong read that offers testimony to Wagner s Gothic horror foundation while not quite distancing itself from the riddle of steel he apparently found so lacking Kane is much than at first he seems or those awesome covers lead some to believe , but in the end he still is a man filled with the hot blooded passion to survive and the might and skill to ensure he does.Read Kane and find out what real grittiness is. This is the first of Karl Edward Wagner s Kane books in its full edition, as restored in 1978 , but the second one I ve read since I quite accidentally managed to start with book four a few years ago.This particular novel tells an epic story of conquest and revenge, as the mad sorceress Efrel seeks righteous vengeance upon the Emperor of the Thovnosian empire, Netisten Maril, to whom she was once married Aided by supernatural forces, Efrel is recommended to seek out Wagner s brilliant anti hero Kane to lead her earthly rebel forces And Kane, with a dark and sordid past, has other reasons to ally himself with Efrel.As I wrote with regards to The Dark Crusade, there is a resonance of Robert E Howard and other high grade pulp writers in Wagner s prose, while the novel at the same time positions itself as part of the reinventing tradition of authors like Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber.All in all, a really enjoyable read Of which the least is not the section that splendidly delves into Kane s past in a fragmented manner of hints and innuendo Highly recommended There are stumbling blocks for every author we each have our crutches, our weak points, our awkward moments but what sets a good author apart is that, despite these things, there is always something that carries them through it, some verve or strength that makes up for it.This is especially true for pulp and genre authors their work may be unpolished, even bordering on the cliche, but some aspect of their approach and vision still shines through Lovecraft s pacing and voice often left much to be desired, but his unique vision of cosmic horror still makes much of his work intriguing Early on, Moorcock struggled with subtlety and sophistication, but his odd conceptual approach often saved him Indeed, for Howard, the polished his style became, the it lost the vitality that set it apart.With Wagner, I struggled to find the unique aspect of voice that makes a story worth telling and worth reading Certainly, there are some things he does well his writing shines when he is setting a scene, in descriptions of places, structures, weather, the tapestry of a landscape passing the lonely traveler by There is some real loveliness there, some fine turns of phrase and genuine tone.However, outside of these passages the style becomes finicky The action scenes get bogged down in deliberate, meticulous description, preventing them from flowing, from being dramatic and wild It all begins to feel like a foregone conclusion Wagner doesn t seem to be able to create interesting tensions within the action to keep us interested.In actions scenes, there is always the obvious, overarching conflict that must be resolved In combat, it is the naked question of who will prevail, whose sword arm will prove stronger In the chase, it is the question of whether the quarry will escape, or be captured In order to lengthen these into full scenes, there must be a sequence of smaller conflicts playing out which are progressively dealt with en route to the final conclusion.However, it is vital that these smaller conflicts be interesting in themselves, and not just be an extension of the larger So, it cannot just be our hero sees a new foe before him , to be cut down and defeated in a repetitious succession of thud and blunder There must be some wrinkle, some particular that must be overcome in a way that requires something specific of our hero, that engages him It is not enough simply to have a quick foe, or a massive one that quickness or size must be given some particular thrust some detail that makes it feel true to the reader, that makes it imperative to the hero s momentary survival.Kane is meant to be preternaturally skilled and competent but even the most certain man must grit his teeth and will his way through at least some of his struggles The combat often ends up lacking a sense of danger or thrill or unpredictability to keep things moving It shows how difficult it really is to produce the kind of exciting flow that Howard seems to create so effortlessly almost thoughtlessly in the Conan stories.Wagner s dialogue likewise shows a niceness that causes it to lose much of the punch it might otherwise have Firstly, he walks that line le Guin marked in her essay From Elfland to Poughkeepsie , in that when he makes his language conversational, it can start to feel overly modern and plain in the mouths of these outlandish characters That isn t to say that characters in fantasy should all speak like chivalric knights errant, but creating conversation that is both rough and retains a period feel is no easy feat.Secondly, like many authors unsure of their own voice, he seems to fear being misunderstood So, he leaves nothing implied, allows no subtle nods, instead making sure the whole is stated outright for the reader So, if we have our hero speaking with a shady character, a dark cloaked spy who works both sides, you can be certain that at some point, there will be an aside where he thinks to himself I m not sure if I can trust him If two characters are planning to break into a castle, one will probably mention that he doesn t want to be caught and tortured.There s a reason that writers don t do thisWhile fully dressed and facing forward, he walked with his feet across the green grass lawnmost of those words simply aren t necessary The exact same image is communicated byHe walked across the lawnThe true job of a writer is deciding what needs to be shown versus what can be left unsaid If our hero walked backwards on his hands while naked across a perfumed lawn of purple bones, that might be worth mentioning Ultimately, it makes Wagner s writing tedious to get through less like characters engaged in conversation and like two writers plotting the outline for a script.The Cthulhu bits are played too straight, too matter of factly Wagner isn t adding anything or putting his own spin on it, he s just lifting Lovecraft s descriptions whole cloth Indeed, the characters often speak of magic and demons with all the wonder and fear of a mechanic talking about rebuilding an engine.Moreover, the events of the story don t really seem to touch Kane, to change him moment to moment Of course, his immortality would give him an unusual point of view, and it s certainly not unthinkable that he should feel disconnected from the world jaded and detached But even so, this jadedness does not seem to drive him, it does not modify his reactions, it simply leaves him blank With Moorcock s Elric, we get the idea that he has grander desires that drive him, even if they tend to be personal ones, and he otherwise feels separate from the world.Now, if the intent were to explore the existential ennui of immortality, that could make for an interesting story, but the events of Kane s life are very much the norm for a sword sorcery hero battles and demons, pirates and assassins His own actions in this world are also very much the norm, so it s not as if we re being provided with some fresh outlook or approach to underscore his unique perspective.I was excited to try this series, based on it s reputation a darker Conan, a modern take on Eddison s and Anderson s violent, blood and glory tales unfortunately, the tone, characterization, dialogue, and plotting simply weren t up to the challenge Ultimately, though Wagner is certainly reaching for what might be an interesting vision of fantasy, he never quite succeeds at bringing it to life, on the page.My Suggested Readings in Fantasy A Tale of high adventure and sorcery Kane is a heavily endearing character his brutality and deceptiveness is countered by a sophisticated and learned mind His evil appears lessened somewhat only because the Characters in the book surpass even Kane s constant intent for domination through brutal conquest Its hard not to like Kane, and in this novel we find Kane with a companion, a friend, which he has not had in the previous novels, and it is interesting to find him able to trust in an ally This novel also gives the most detailed references into Kane s actual past and the adventures across a vast breadth of time he has endured in his wanderings I have found the two previous Kane novels by KEW extremely enjoyable and Darkness Weaves definitely met my expectations from this talented fantasy writer, coupled with another fantastic illustration by Frank Frazetta A true master of the genre, KEW s Kane stories will delight any Sword and Sorcery fans Enjoy