Alrighty kids, gather round for another guest blog by a good friend of mine (and fellow Outlaw) Steven Shrewsbury. Steven’s a helluva guy writing some terrific sword and sorcery today. One of his stories appears in THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD : Sorcery which is volume 2 of the double anthology I did for Seventh Star Press. (Go buy it and Sword which is number one)
He has new work coming down the pike. The newest Gorias Le Gaul, which he is telling you about today and shortly a sword and sorcery retelling of the story of Goliath. Yes, THAT Goliath. I read it, it rocked, I wrote the introduction for it. So sit back and enjoy!
My novella sized story collection BLOOD & STEEL: LEGENDS OF LA GAUL VOLUME I will be out really quick here. It features yarns about my character, Gorias La Gaul (central figure of the novels OVERKILL, THRALL and more to come) in various stages of his long life.
Some fantasy works are considered character driven fiction, rather than the epic world itself being the star of the novel. Don’t get me started that most ‘world building’ exercises in fantasy are just masturbatory sports in rearranging ancient Earth history and geography. Gorias La Gaul’s tales take place in a pre-flood world of mine that I prefer to think of as a time forgotten in our own history. While I’ve told much about the 700 year old flawed hero, who is equally as interested in woman as well as risky adventures, Gorias remains a mysterious character. In the tales of the new BLOOD & STEEL release, I’ve told selective things about him, events that may help his fans or a casual observer understand a bit more about him.
Do the stories paint a picture of why he loves women so much, loves to drink and is such a kick ass fighting man? Not entirely, but I’m not through with him yet.
The first tale, DAY OF INIQUITY tells of the rather violent circumstances of Gorias’ birth. We get to see his father in this story (as well as ASHES OF THE ALL FATHER and then, post mortem in INSURMOUNTABLE) and learn a bit about the tribal nature of how La Gaul was raised. The events in DAY are pretty horrific and the end of that one has a jaw dropper of a punch line, but, that’s how I roll at times. ASHES OF THE ALL FATHER shows us Gorias at 11 or so, and the way his tribe treated children and his own audacity with weapons at the climax, notably a stone member of a statue of Marduk.
The other stories tell of Gorias as an older man, one where he is drunken and heartbroken, somewhat out of character to his older self in OVERKILL and THRALL, Gorias indeed is haunted by a woman (aren’t most strong men?) and she is seen in the take WHORE OF JERICHO the Sorcery anthology currently out from Seventh Star.
Will it totally make the reader GET what makes Gorias tick? Perhaps a little, but I’m telling things as they present themselves to me. Gorias is in no way CONAN but as Howard said of his Cimmerian, the tales are coming to me out of sequence.
A reader will get to see his birth, how he coped with death and action, and even shouldered the sadness of loss of love, plus a duty to his dead father that is bizarre to modern eyes, yet, all to real in the realm of the past and for men of courage.
But why Gorias? Why an aging character, from a once raw beginning to a lordship and back to a mercenary sort of vagabond life? Why write of an enigmatic guy more comfy with whoring and whiskey than proper protocol (but he does remember the ropes)? Writing about someone with the moral character of Clark Kent must be a challenge. Gorias does have a certain code, maybe even great chivalry buried in his bearded face that’s probably more at home on DUCK DYNASTY that in a high bred fantasy realm.
I created him to be the vehicle for a fantasy setting where he wouldn’t be a barbarian warrior, nor a trained assassin, or any other real templates. The story is what works in these yarns and novels, but he is passing through them.
Fair warning: These tales aren’t for the squeamish nor the easily offended. They are rough, but move fast. They are grisly at times, yet will have one stopping to be revolted or laugh alternately. Gorias, while a flawed character with a capital F, well, ya won’t be able to help rooting for him. That is my hope.
How did I create Gorias? Well, that’s a topic for another blog.