Log in

No account? Create an account
Black Gate 4

Harold Lamb's Historicals

Bison Books has recently printed two more collections of Harold Lamb's swashbuckling historicals, and they're discussed in depth today in The Wall Street Journal in an article by John Miller.

Where many adventure tales are predictable from the first word, Lamb’s plots were full of unexpected twists. He wrote convincingly of faraway lands and dealt fairly with their inhabitants, relating without bias the viewpoints of Mongols, Muslims, and Hindus. His stories are rarely profound psychological drama, but Lamb nonetheless breathed humanity into his characters, endowing them with realistic hopes and fears. Unlike almost all of his predecessors, his pacing still feels modern — he never stopped for slow exposition. His plots thunder forward as though he envisioned each one for cinema the moment he slid paper into the typewriter.

These two collections showcase his work with heroic Arab wanderers and Crusaders. They seem to have had a large impact upon Robert E. Howard, and through him the entire field of fantasy fiction. Do not think that they are dry and dusty and antiquated, though -- they remain grand reading for all those who love adventure.


For more details on Lamb, you can visit the official site.

Howard Andrew Jones



Congrats on the coverage! Your Harold Lamb reclamation project is a service to the literary landscape.
Thanks! It's good stuff, too good to have been forgotten.
Oh! Very cool. Never heard of this gent before. Quickly, Robin -- to the online bookstores!
There's great stuff in there for the likes of you and me. I swear that the string of stories in the first volume, Wolf of the Stepps, from story 3, Tal Taulai Khan, to story 9, The Star of Evil Omen, is some of the finest heroic adventure ever written, all starring Khlit the Cossack, all written in sequence. A highwater mark in adventure stories.

But other readers tell me Lamb gets better by the second and third volume. Heck, there's great stuff in all of these books or I wouldn't have spent more than a decade championing them. The Crusader tales in Swords from the West are just as good and written years later, when Lamb was even more polished. He didn't use recurring characters as often, by that point, though. I don't know why that makes a difference, but it does. Perhaps with a continuing character were already invested in his or her welfare before the story starts, if we like the character. Presumably if we did not we wouldn't bother continuing to read about the same fellow.
...Books now ordered. I'll drop you a line when I've read them. Thanks for the tip-off!


Harold Lamb website

Have you stopped running the Harold Lamb site? It seems to have disappeared in the last couple of weeks.

Re: Harold Lamb website

Thank you, masked stranger. Apparently I was late renewing the site. I've just paid it up in full. Hopefully that means it will return live soon.

By the end of the year I need to completely update the look of the thing.

Wish the company had notified me that my site was about to expire.