The Wandered Lands. Realms of peril, war and discord, peopled by men and monsters both, ruled over by Gods of capricious whim. And Rhoye of Khetaine, the mighty hero of the six tales that comprise ‘Man of Swords’, must roam these savage lands, blade in hand and life upon the ante, for a purpose known only to those above… or, perhaps, those below.
But ‘Man of Swords’ begins with neither hero nor man. It begins with a boy. A boy of unknown name and untried mettle, who alone must face a trial in the Cave of Rite. Such our first glimpse of a legend born in ‘The Eye and the Dragon’.
In ‘The Knight Who Would Not Kneel’ Rhoye, now grown to be a doughty warrior, has joined the armies of Vesdurlanta in their war against the thurgr, giants of the frozen north. Through his valour he becomes unwillingly sworn to Orrefiah, a dying king desperate to rescue his realm from these vicious monsters. But the wildlander of Khetaine will not easily obey the dictates of his unsought liege, and tragedy lurks not far ahead.
‘The Devil Out the Wych Elm’ sees Rhoye saved from sure death only to confront a peril all the greater. A dark supernatural mystery of human greed, of lust, and of bitter, brutal revenge, this is a tale not for the faint of heart.
The next adventure, ‘The Queen of Scorpions’, sees Rhoye grapple with ruthless pirates and priestesses of terrible purpose in a chase across the Wild Main, a breakneck pursuit which culminates in a bloody showdown between good and evil.
An altogether more comedic affair is ‘The Ember Nixie’. Drunken, glum and listless on the eve of holy day, Rhoye stumbles into a boozy misadventure in the gambling underworld of a snowbound northern port, where he must fight, not for his own, but for the honour of the girl known only as Glory.
The collection concludes with ‘The Beast Beneath Druihmkirk’, a story in the traditional dungeon-crawl style, where the sole escape from an ancient walled city is through the sewers, through the belly of the beast beneath.
‘Man of Swords’ has been a labour of love that has taken me nearly two years to complete. I plan to author several more of these Sword and Sorcery story collections over the next decade, currently working on the sequel, ‘Knight of Swords’, which I hope to have ready for release by December 2023.
‘Man of Swords’ is available now from Amazon worldwide in paperback, hardcover and ebook. It is also free to read on Kindle Unlimited. I really hope you enjoy reading my tales as much as I enjoyed writing them. But tread these Wandered Lands with the utmost of care, brave reader, for there be monsters here. You are warned.