With all of the teaching and editing I’ve been doing, there hasn’t been much time to read for pleasure the past couple of years. Pyr and these two guys are making it tough on me since I want to start reading both of their new books right this minute.
I first encountered Jon Sprunk when I published a short story of his in my very first themed short story anthology, Cloaked in Shadow: Dark Tales of Elves. I’ve had the pleasure of including stories by Jon in a handful of books since then, and it’s been exciting to watch his novels take off. I think he’s really hitting his stride with his brand of sword and sorcery. Blood and Iron is a sword and sorcery tale set in a world that borrows from the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians and ruminates on the meaning of power and freedom.
I knew of Mark Smylie from his fantastically bloody and sexy Artesia comics, and we started running into each other at various conventions such as Wizard World and Gen Con. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a friendlier creator before or since, and I’m a little sad realizing our paths haven’t crossed in a few years. I was looking up information about Jon’s book, and I noticed something about The Barrow by Mark Smylie. Seems as if he’s taking readers back into the Known World, the setting of his Artesia books. It doesn’t appear that you need any knowledge of the earlier works since it features a new story and new characters—an intriguing cast of rogues. All reports indicate intense violence and sex, and a darkly rewarding story (and I wouldn’t expect anything less).
Both books are getting good reviews. Now I have to figure out which to read first.