Originally posted at https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/zweihander-interview-will-and-kit/
Character Names: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe
Relationship: Roommates; Playwrights; Co-authors
World: New Hell
Books: Rogues in Hell; Dreamers in Hell; Poets in Hell; Doctors in Hell; Pirates in Hell (Heroes in Hell series)
How and where did you meet?
Will Shakespeare: When alive, we met as rival playwrights, Kit holding forth in the ‘Admiral’s Men company’ wheresoever the troupe played, or at the Rose; and I at the Globe, where I owned an interest in the house.
Kit Marlowe: Eyewash, all that. Shakespeare’s a famous liar. We met in the Clink, on Maiden Lane. So what? What intelligence we had of one another came through his works and mine, what plays we wrote and how we acted in ’em. My Tamburlaine the Great, Parts I and II, I performed in my lifetime; the rest were staged posthumously, but for Dido, Queen of Carthage, writ by me and Thomas Nashe, and ‘performed’ by the ‘Children of the Chapel,’ as fair a clutch of boy charmers as ever gamboled on any stage. I met my death not too long after cultivating Will, a matter of my spying here and lying there, most times with Walsingham, whose wife took umbrage, as women do when boys and men make love. Yet those plays set a new standard in quality and introduced blank verse. Mine were not, like Will’s, tripe writ for money-grubbery by the uneducated and for the uneducated. I helped Will write his Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three and got no credit for it. Still, my own four plays performed on Earth after I arrived in Hell did what art should do: shined lights on evils hidden and calumny of the vilest kind.
Will: Kit, let’s not linger on this question, unfortunate as it may be. We were sometime lovers, sometime haters of one another, but always haters of repression and Elizabethan frippery. If your spying got you killed, Kit, your love of controversy sparked it — yea, incited it.
Kit: Incited? Poor choice of words, methinks. Edward the Second was first performed five weeks after my death; so that play, at least, retained its bite.
What is it you like most about the other person?
Kit: Like about Will? His soft white skin, his ample buttocks — his mobile mouth, empowered tongue, and nubile breasts.
Will: Kit means he adores my ear for language, my deeply probing artist’s soul, and my knack of staying out of trouble whilst I slip and slide among the rich and reprehensible at Court. Do recall I’m not the one who ended life with a bodkin thrust deep in that eye so like a doe’s.
What is it you hate most about each other?
Will: We said that. But, since you ask for more: his blasphemy and his need to fill his pages with the ‘vile heretical conceits’ that sent him to trial before the Privy Council.
Kit: We told you that, and, like the Privy Council, you’ll acquit me on the grounds that truth itself can’t be denied — for long.
Will: Christopher Marlowe, like your English Agent in the Massacre at Paris, I hate your overweening pride and lurid need to confess your days of secret agency under so thin a guise as that play. What were you thinking, to warn Elizabeth of agitators, a theme far too dangerous to survive? And how many refugees from the low countries died of your ideas planted in their tiny little heads?
Do you think your partnership will last?
Kit: Henry Sixth answers that, for my part. It’s what Shakey would have writ had he an education or a life made dangerous enough to enjoy. And the rest, you see before you: two souls forever doomed to one another’s company in the bowels of perdition, to count eternity’s every day, and nights more deadly still.
Will: Kit’s a good boy, a young fellow led astray by childish derring-do, and with a taste for the hurly-burly that snuffed his life before its time. But now I have infernity to reform him, and Satan provides the irritant around which we’ll secrete a necklace of pearls while we write as we’ve never writ before.
Describe the other person (max 100 words):
Kit: Will, go ye first, and light our path with your dulcet tones, so like a cello but a string or two short.
Will: Master Marlowe, my thanks for your recital, though it best be delivered later and revisited daily, as the Privy Council sentenced you to come before them every day: every day of the ten you had yet to live . . . Withal, I’ll try to answer the question: this Marlowe creature hungers for adoration and thirsts for justice, both of which were as precious scarce in life as they remain dubious in afterlife. Nevertheless, his talent is wider than the face of Paradise and tempered by a lifetime few would have dared to live — and I love him for his childish heart and indomitable soul.
Kit: My turn, then, to laud the Bard in terms free of spite and full with admiration: such a mind for the human animal has ne’er been seen on the black earth — not before he lived his quick span, or at any time thereafter. Although glorifying humanity may be an empty effort, he’s made them look into themselves, and find there what joy can be had, and give it value.
Describe how you think the other person sees you
Will: I think not, for safety’s bereftest sake.
Kit: As my better half insinuates, ‘twould take a three-part comedy of errors to do that story justice. So I’ll not begin it, lest it never stop till eternity runs out.
Tell us a little about your adventures.
Will: Then or now? Becoming famous in life holds no candle to sustaining afterlife. We’ve written three plays now for Satan, and suffered the attendant woes of those who know true ignominy. We wrote Hell Bent, and died in it every night. We wrote The Witch and the Tyrant, and fell afoul of its graveyard stench. We wrote another, Pirates in Perdition, and found the very sounding of its name an incantation to summon fiends and demons and all manner of unexculpated souls.
Kit: Read our plays writ here, to Abbadon’s order, or don’t. But be warned: you’ll risk your wizened hearts every time you turn our pages and let your eyes rub words too dangerous to speak aloud.
Tell us about your world – and your part of it.
Will: Hell is the Reformation come to grief, with no Third Act to cure it.
Kit: Hell is where the heart is, and seldom beats. But when it does, that heart beats as only love can. We are Satan’s personal poets, and no worse can befall a soul who yet owns an ear for courage or for rhyme.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Kit: Right here. Scoffing at evil while we glorify every flaw that makes man human. What else, in hell, is a playwright to do?
Will: Enough, Kit. The last line of this comedy is mine: We’ll be here as long as ghosts roam the world and fools rule it; as long as regrets power penance and singers keen their pain.
You can find Will and Kit in the following:
#review #fantasy #sacredband
Janet & Chris Morris
Politics, deadly magic, legend, love and the machinations of gods abound in this fantasy tale of immortals, pawns and power. This is the fifth Sacred Band novel and steps aside from the usual locations to a mythic city lost in time. When Nikodemos literally falls from the sky in a god-born storm he must not only save himself from the strange and hostile customs of the place but save the city from the wrath of gods and mages. This book, more than the other Sacred Band tales, is Niko’s adventure and of all the characters he is the one whom the reader takes to heart. Whereas most of the others are more than human, demigod, or wizard, Niko is the fighter whose courage and honor shine brightly — but he is a mortal man, with all the flaws entailed. This is Niko’s tale – can he deal with these strange people, the woman who loves him, be lured away from his bond with the band?
As usual, the pace is fast and the writing melodious and intelligent. The Sacred Band books are not for the faint of heart, or those shocked by violence and bloodshed. This is a tale of friendship, but also mistrust, a tale of immortality but also death, and a tale of love and hatred, thus it is many-layered, supremely crafted tale which thrills the reader.
It does help to be familiar with the characters – but it can be read as a stand-alone. You’ll soon love Tempus, Niko and their world. Don’t expect this to be Sanctuary, the city here is strange, ancient and apart from the world – an immortal wanderer – like Tempus himself. And the challenges are very different.
In many ways, this is a story about being stuck in the past, the old ways and the terror of ‘what is out there’ and the new. It’s a tale of having strayed from the correct path, of corruption and the will to power.
Grab this book and lose yourself in the world Morris weaves. Nothing will ever seem quite the same again with such magic.
To read an excerpt, click here:
Review for Tempus Unbound
This particular Tempus/Sacred Band book is a little different – for a start, it’s all from Tempus’ point of view, and we have only Tempus himself, Cime and Askelon from the former books. Don’t let this put you off, there’s a host of worthies – not least Mano the mercenary from the future and bad guys to rival anyone in Sanctuary.
Called to Lemuria, a strange citadel between the worlds, and times it’s a chance to right wrongs if only you can work out WHICH wrongs. Tempus is lonely, alone save for his petulant and truculent god. Who is who, and who needs whom? That’s one of the questions asked as Tempus fights an old enemy in a new and unfamiliar world. The future is dark, and war will out. Strife is all and king of all. And so it was in his own time, and in this possible future. We see our hero struggle with technology he can barely imagine and his friends see power and courage they can barely comprehend. Gods, magic and tech fight as Tempus tries to save his sister, and save the world from his deadly sister. Choices are made, and regrets are put aside in the names of love and courage. Ideals are questioned, and truth is harsh.
As usual, the characters are supremely crafted, with a richness that brings emotion and a real sense of reality. In Morris’s world, anything is possible, and the reader believes it. These aren’t easy reads, they have a high level of violence, sex and themes that require the reader to engage their brain. But this, and the other Sacred Band/Tempus books are worth the time, and the brainpower. Rarely does a reader find a world so rich, or characters so enchanting, or writing so lyrical. The tempo of the book is a call to war, a call to stand for what is good, and a call to give all.
Heartily recommend this – even if you’re unfamiliar with the characters, and setting Tempus Unbound takes the reader on a journey from ancient times, to a future and it’s a thrilling journey and is a great intro to Tempus and his worlds.
By Mr. A Weston on 8 July 2017
Once inside, he becomes a guest of Chiara – the Evening Star – and is invited to a sumptuous feast where he is greeted by a number of other visitors who, as it transpires, are from different epochs of earth’s history. Mingled in amongst them is none other than Aškelon of Meridian, Lord of Dreams and entelechy of the Seventh Sphere; onetime husband of Tempus’ sister, Cime.
While the majority of the group believes they are there to determine the fate of billions in the present and future by undoing mistakes & manipulating events in the past, Tempus suspects events are being staged, for Cime had disappeared from the land of dreams, along with her deadly rods. Thus begins the hunt that sees the storm god’s avatar transported to present day – and 22nd Century – New York.
Tempus in New York! Can you imagine?
The culture shock itself leads to some rather imaginative confrontations. And that’s only the beginning, for there is an Archmage and his minions to kill.
Enmity is guaranteed. Combat is inevitable. Bloodletting abounds.
Along the way, old wounds are opened; long held grudges come to the fore; bitter lessons are learned; eternal stories come full circle; and Tempus discovers just how intimately his affairs are interwoven to that of his god.
Having read all of Tempus’ adventures, I have to say this is one of my favorites. Fast paced, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable, it adds a clever twist to his epic narrative and keeps his story as fresh today as it’s always been.
From Oxford University Press:
The Sacred Band series of books by Janet Morris and Chris Morris have been cult sensations for decades. Now three of those books have received a notice close to my heart.
The Tempus Unbound novel has been newly released on Kindle and Nook, and will soon be published in deluxe trade paper and hardback avaiable worldwide.
The Sacred Band novel itself is available in e-book, trade paper, hardback and audiobook:
B&N Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sacred-band-janet-morris/1100390034?ean=2940015747836
Amazon trade: https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Band-Janet-Morris/dp/0988755009/
The Sacred Band audiobook can be found at:
Read a free preview of the Sacred Band here:
And, should you want more Sacred Band of Stepsons stories and novels, the entire series to date is available from: http://www.theperseidpress.com/?page_id=921
As the Sacred Banders say, “Life to you, and everlasting glory.”
The Forty-Minute War is a novel that crosses genres, effortlessly incorporating elements of speculative fiction, spy thriller, black ops, romance and science fiction. The tale of jihadists setting off a nuclear bomb is as relevant in this updated book as it was when originally written in 1984. The story is timeless, apt for today, possibly even more than it was then.
The reader follows the fortunes of Marc Beck, a charismatic employee of the US State Department, Chris Patrick who is a newspaper journalist and Beck’s love interest, and Ashmead, a hardened CIA operative who leads a team of counter-terror black ops assassins. Together they weave in and out of a taut story and the tension makes the book hard to put down. There are twists and turns in this book that keep the reader gripped to the end. The characters live and breathe and I felt their pain, their tears, their love and their black humour.
The writing, as always regarding these authors, is excellent. As a devotee of novels by John Le Carre I never thought I would find authors writing in a similar genre who have the same wordsmith qualities as Le Carre, yet here they are. The depth, pace and quality of the book is certainly on equal terms. Underscoring the fast pace is the voice of authenticity and experience which lends credibility, giving fascinating insights into black ops in a Middle Eastern setting.
Highly recommended, and it deserves to be better known.
Unlike most historical novels, ‘I, the Sun’ does not try to impose modern morality upon an ancient civilization. After all, what is the point of claiming to be a work of “historical fiction” if you are bound by the preconceptions of modern times? However, that aspiration is easier to state than to achieve, and many authors end up failing in their quest for historical accuracy in favor of creating a mass media narrative. As a result, the market is flooded with so-called historical novels that are in no way representative of whatever era they examine.
In this work, Janet Morris has made some courageous choices. Above all else she strives to embrace the brutality and social norms of an era that took place fourteen hundred years before Christ. The book is, in many ways, an intelligence test for those who come upon it. Wittingly or not, readers seek nothing more than the same old “Disney approved” prepackaged plot set in a different historical landscape. That’s not what you’re going to get with ‘I, the Sun.’
One of the most common complaints about modern heroic writing is that there aren’t enough female characters. But too often, authors simply take a male character and give him a female name in order to satisfy gimmicks like the Bechdel test. But what the Bechdel test fails to account for is the existence of realistic women who are engaged in plausible, gender related issues. It’s easy to write a “superhero” female character. But it’s far more interesting to show a powerful woman who manages to exert her influence although she is subjected to a powerless social role.
The women of ‘I, the Sun’ are fascinating, and in many ways they are more interesting than the titular character. They are mothers, slaves, prostitutes and witches, and they conduct themselves with strategic intelligence and a tremendous survival instinct. They fight tooth and claw in darkness and lose often, just like real people.
The prevalence of brutal actions in this book will rightfully make the reader squirm, but engaging in the intellectual exercise of examining the consequences of historical thinking is exactly the point. What are the effects of living in a cruel society, not just the torments of the moment but the prolonged mental burden of surviving within such a world? That’s the theme that Janet Morris bravely tackles in ‘I, the Sun.’ Are her conclusions correct? Who knows? But this novel does indisputably embrace the hard questions of a specific historical age and wrestles with them with intellectual honesty even at the risk of alienating overly delicate readers. The result is a remarkable novel, beautifully written, that will linger with you long after you’ve closed the cover.”
See the original review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2B83HD484TF14/
see the original post on https://historyrocks.us/2017/02/19/i-the-sun/
From the annals of the ancient Hittite king, Suppiluliumas, from the Amarna Letters of Egypt and the court records of a wealth of “lost” civilizations, comes this saga of kingship and greatness, love and death, politics and treachery in the second millennium, BCE. Beyond a few cursory references to the Hittites in the Bible, for thousands of years nothing has been known of this first mighty Indo-European culture.
Now, based on translations of the ancient texts themselves, comes the story of Suppiluliumas, Great King, Favorite of the Storm God, King of Hatti, who by his own count fathered forty-four kings and conquered as many nations, who brought even mighty Egypt to her knees. Tutankhamen’s widow sent him an urgent letter begging for a son of his to make her husband. The earliest Hebrews knew him as their protector. The entire Mediterranean world revered and feared him.
But although he conquered armies, countries, and even foreign gods, he could not conquer his love for the one woman fate denied him, the Great Queen Khinti. With the exception of a single slave girl, every prince and general, mercenary and scribe, princess and potentate chronicled in these pages actually lived, loved and died nearly fourteen hundred years before Christ.
Now they live again in I, the Sun.
Download the audiobook here
Read the recent review of I, the Sun from Black Gate Magazine.
Get the book at these sites:
Meet the Author
Dragons, a new take on the ancient beastie.
Dragons have been around, in our myths and legends at least, since before the days of Jason and the Argonauts (wherein one of Jason’s trials was to sow dragons’ teeth), from before the days of the Iliad, and from before the days when Triptolemus went to Thrace and his host Carnabon slew one of the dragons pulling his chariot, for which Carnabon was hounded by Demeter until his death and after, when she had him banished to the constellation Ophiuchos where he forever holds at arm’s length a serpent (a/k/a dragon) trying to kill him. Twinkle, twinkle, little dragon . . . Dragon myths go even farther back, to the 2nd (or some say 3rd) millennium BCE, when the dragon Illuyankus, whose favorite snack was Hittite children, was killed by the storm god Tarhunt to save Hatti’s children from a dragon’s dinner table.
I thought I had a handle on all possible dragon myths, until I read Thomas Barczak’s inventive novel, in which both dragons and human children play a part . . . And I’m not going to tell you what happens in Tom Barczak’s Mouth of the Dragon, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never read a book like it before (unless, of course, you’ve read Tom’s precursor novel, Veil of the Dragon). But never fear, whether you’ve never read a dragon tale or have a shelf full, Mouth of the Dragon stands alone, and proudly, to great effect.
As you may have guessed by now, I loved this book. Until I read Mouth of the Dragon, I wasn’t sure there were any roads as yet untrod in dragon realms — no stories still untold, no new tales that could make you think differently about dragonkind. Now that I’ve read Mouth of the Dragon, here’s my reaction, spoiler-free and thus phrased as questions: Is a dragon still a dragon when he controls people from inside them? Is prophecy still prophecy when it turns upon its prophet? Can a dark YA/NA book also be a book for grownups? My answer is a resounding yes to all of those. Lyrical, subtle, and always refreshing, Barczak poses new questions, new answers, and does so in an inimitable style. For a fresh take on dragons and their relationship with humanity, read this. You’ll be glad you did, and that way you won’t be the only one on the internet who hasn’t read it yet . . .
Click here to get your copy from Amazon in Kindle format:
Click directly above, bottom right, to see the free preview.
Ready? Set? Go!
Want to hold a beautiful edition in your hands? You can also order the deluxe trade edition with an original cover by Roy Mauritsen from Perseid Press at: www.theperseidpress.com/?page_id=1641
or from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Mouth-Dragon-Prophecy-Thomas-Barczak/dp/0997758392/