- File Size: 5025 KB
- Print Length: 126 pages
- Publisher: Gardner Francis Fox Library (May 28, 2017)
- Publication Date: May 28, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B072FTSRZB
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,042 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Kothar: Barbarian Swordsman book #1 (Sword & Sorcery) Kindle Edition
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"The Sword of the Sorcerer" is the origin story, if you will, of Kothar, a Barbarian from the north. On the run from a battle lost, Kothar stumbles upon a crypt haunted by the liche of a powerful sorcerer. From the liche, he gains a sword that as long as he possess it, he may hold no wealth. He gains the animosity of the sorceress Red Lori, who plagues him in future stories to come.
"The Treasure in the Labyrinth" finds Kothar seeking a hidden treasure in a cursed Labyrinth, the home of the Minkotaur (or some such, yes it's a Minotaur, but Fox doesn't call it that).
"The Woman of the Witch-Wood" is a story of a cursed town haunted by magic.
Gardner Fox is known more for his contributions to comics, particularly DC Comics; however, he wrote stories heavily influenced by the works of Robert E Howard, especially Conan and Kull.
In the 60's and 70's there was a resurgence of interest in Sword and Sorcery, mostly centered around Mr Howard's creation Conan the Cimmerian. Don't let the blond hair fool you, Kothar is a thinly disguised Clonan (Clone of Conan).
The Good: Since encountering Conan in the 1982 film, Conan the Barbarian and then moving onto devouring anything about the Barbarian in comic books and pastiche novels, I have been a huge fan.
It wasn't until 10 years ago when I read the original stories (unedited, and without what some have called "post-collaborative efforts") that I realized I was a Robert E Howard fan as well.
Since jumping in head first, I've gained a renewed interest in Conan pastiche (stories featuring the character, but not written by REH) and my favorite guilty-pleasure, "Clonans". Characters that are not Conan, but are obviously, more than heavily, influenced by the Cimmerian.
Chief amongst these Clonans are Thongor by Lin Carter, Brak by John Jakes (yes, that John Jakes) and the characters Kothar and Kyrik by Gardner F Fox.
I enjoy all of them, and I am an unashamed fan of Lin Carter, but I enjoy the S&S stories by Gardner F Fox.
I have a few of the Kothar and Kyrik stories in paperbacks found at used bookstores, which I love to collect; however, I am anxiously excited to now read these collected editions by editor Kurt Brugel.
Mr Brugel, like me, enjoys these stories, not to make fun of (which is easy to do), but because they mean something to fans of Sword & Sorcery, REH and Gardner F Fox.
I don't defend these as literature with the capital "L" and I won't deny the machoism and inherent sexism. Those elements are there; however, these style of tales are a guilty-pleasure that I feel no guilt in enjoying.
Kothar is not set too far apart from Conan. I do like the Curse he must live with, no wealth for possession of the sword Frostfire and even though she is a weak, sexualized card board character, I like that Red Lori always haunts him (or does she?), sometimes she inadvertently helps Kothar.
The Bad: These are unapologetic adventure stories. There are no philosophical debates and Kothar is a Superman, always able to fight his way out of a scrap.
There is a "Dying Earth" sort of preamble to these that promises a future world devolved into a barbarous state of S&S; however, the promise is not delivered upon. Instead, a thinly veiled Hyborian world is used, minus the lavish detail REH provided, and elements from real-world history/mythology are sprinkled in at will. It feels like a world created by a 16 year old for his D&D game.
The Ugly: machoism and sexism. It's there.
Thoughts: If these stories didn't fall into a niche interest of mine, I would rate the collection at 2 stars at most.
Gardner Fox placed these into a format that I care much about. Hence, I only recommend these to fans of Sword & Sorcery, who can be forgiving of a story simply for the fun of the history.