Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Lair of the Cherufe" by Angeline Hawkes from Return of the Sword

If I didn't know better, I would say this is a story from the classic age of pulps. It has a fun style that reminded me of Fritz Leiber. Our hero, in this case, is Kabar of el Hazzar and the setting is a mythic middle east. The tale really cooks along, establishing character and setting while Kabar is being summoned by the local king, an old fighting buddy of Kabar's, whose daughter has been kidnapped. She is to be sacrificed to some gigantic monster in a volcano, unless Kabar can save her.

If there is one thing that puzzles me, its the presence of two other characters, Kabar's brother and a friend. They don't accomplish much and I think the story would be shorter and sweeter without them. However, looking at Ms. Hawkes website, it seems this is one of many stories featuring these characters, and in this case, her fans would probably like to know what's going on with these two. That's understandable, especially from an established author. It's an interesting group, and I could certainly read more of their stories.

There's another magic blade in this tale, the Singing Sword. That's pretty familiar territory, and in fact there are few surprises here. The hero is very confident and it comes as no shock when things go his way... mostly. =) But overall it is an entertaining yarn that stands out for its unique and fully-formed voice and its classic pulp feel.

Buy the book! The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure
Angeline Hawkes
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