Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"To Be A Man" by Robert Rhodes from Return of the Sword

Wow. Return of the Sword hits another high point with this tale of a red-maned warrior woman. As summaries go, I can't do better than this one from E.E. Knight's blog.

“To Be A Man” - The thief Vasili has enjoyed a rich and ribald life with his partner, the notorious Titania Brashnova. But when Titania finally goes too far, Vasili must attempt his greatest con yet: ending their partnership ... without ending himself.

So, I've been keeping up with Red Sonja through Dynamite's comics line and frankly I'm pretty disappointed with the stories, mainly because Sonja is so two dimensional. In this story we are treated to a lusty tale that recalls the passion and intensity of Howard's Swordswoman. Titania is way larger than life, but it's such a refreshing take. You see, instead of being a chaste ice-princess, Titania is an insatiable love-tiger.

This is the first story in the collection to use first person narration. I haven't been so keen on this style for a while now, but it works so well here. I just glanced at the first few sentences and I was caught up. Vasili's personality is so vivid, the narration confident and playful. In fact the humor in the story camouflages a strong theme and dramatic development of character as Vasili wrestles with his conscience. This story has a moral core that caught me off guard and lifts it from the realm of pure entertainment. It's sexy and mature, and that is part of the artfulness of the tale. What could possibly go wrong with being the partner to a beautiful, ass-kicking, sexually insatiable amazon? The answer may surprise you.


Buy the book! The Return of the Sword: An Anthology of Heroic Adventure
Robert Rhodes
EE Knight's Announcement
A Review
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