bears and Berserkers – a saga of vengeance, love and shapeshifting 🙂
Stories have never been bigger. After the last 18 months it’s good to escape any way you can. More, it’s essential for one’s well being. Stories can help, carrying the troubled mind off to a new place, where wonder and magic prevail. Where better than the fantasy genre? Realms where tales have no boundaries and anything is possible. And what a time for fantasy with Amazon spending trillions on the new JRR Tolkien tales, the forthcoming Robert Jordan Wheel of Time streaming, and the new movie version of Dune––to mention but a few of the many exciting events on the horizon.
In 2021 you can read, listen and watch––even play, and role model, become a character in your favorite book. Heck, you can almost live in these worlds! And that’s a lot more fun than watching the news. Fantasy has never been bigger than today. Whether you choose to watch, listen, read, or play them, stories are the release valve on the human pressure cooker mind. We need to vent. We have to dream …
And stories weave more stories. As for my world- Ansu, the cuss & steel muddle-maze of Corin’s life was influenced by JRR Tolkien’s works, and other stalwarts such as Jack Vance’s Lyonesse, Guy Kay’s Tigana, Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series ( I think there’s to be an Elric movie soon.) But there was one book that had such a profound effect on me as a young reader, and day-dreamer. A tale of raw energy and power- the like of which I’ve not discovered since.
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson.
A smallish novel written in the 1950’s around the same time as The Lord of the Rings, and, (IMHO) still one of the best fantasy sagas out there. The Broken Sword was the main influence for my latest trilogy– a pseudo Viking meets KungFu Oriental, demon-djinn dance of myth and mayhem. The Berserker Trilogy echoes some of the raw energy oozing from that aforementioned book, while adding it’s own helter-skelter Ansu groove. Want to learn more about the first book in this latest saga? Click on the play arrow below the next image and hear me talk about Blood Feud on The Authors Show …
Now also available on Audible
FYI – Blood Feud and the other two books in the new Berserker Trilogy are all available on Audible. Fancy a look and listen? Visit the Books Page of my website: http://jwwebbauthor.com
On to Corin …
Episode 9: Soggy Boots. A Corin an Fol misadventure.
Grey skies overhead, an icy wind whistling his ears, and gulls crying and whirling above, as the sloop pitched east through slatey seas. To his right grim cliffs were half visible as lowering cloud stole the horizon. Corin shivered. After years in the south, he wasn’t ready to face the cold again.
Morwella in winter. Bleak and stark, with the promise of wet snow building in those dark clouds ahead. Feet braced on the prow, Corin watched as the sloop changed course and made for those towering bluffs. They parted, and the sloop angled into the wide inlet where the River Falahine greeted the sea. Vangaris lay twenty miles upriver. The sloop’s destination but not Corin an Fol’s.
“This will do,” Corin hinted towards the closest bank where a ramshackle dock showed flimsy through the murk. “I’ll need a splendid fellow to row me ashore.” The skipper nodded and bid his scowling mate lower a craft. Corin thanked him and slapped some coin in his palm. Then, after slinging Clouter’s harness across his back and strapping up, Corin lowered his chilled bones into the smaller vessel. The mate slipped in beside him and, after deftly fiddling with pulley and ropes, swiftly lowered the boat to water. That done, he freed the ties, took an oar in each hand, and began rowing rigorously shoreward, his primary aim to dispose of their passenger soonest and reach Vangaris before the taverns closed. The mate’s urgency not lost on Corin, who sat his plank despondent as those snow clouds mustered ahead. He wasn’t looking forward to this job.
Corin studied the bank where willows hugged the shore, their bare fingers brushing water. Beyond these, a strand of shingle and random rocks faded off into murky distance. The gap narrowed as the bank loomed close. The rowboat scraped and ground onto shingle. Corin grunted thanks to his pilot and leapt ashore, holding his cloak up to keep it dry. He clambered onto the jetty. On closer inspection, the timbers looked half rotten. This proved to be the case as the third plank split and Corin crashed through the gap, plunging into the Falahine’s murky chill. A cloud of splinters and rusted nails bruised and grazed his arms as he slid between timbers, his trousers and boots drenched as the icy brine washed over them.
Flailing, Corin gripped a slimy post and clung on dismally as the water filled his boots. That water crept higher, inch by icy inch, as Corin’s grip on the stanchion slipped. Worse, his cloak was tugging at his neck, doing its best to strangle him as — caught by current — it threatened to pull him out to sea again. Meanwhile, his longsword, Clouter was weighing him down like an anchor. That combination of factors half drowned Corin. Mercifully, he found a loose nail sticking out from the post and used this tenuous purchase to heave his soaked hide back up onto the jetty. There Corin lay for a brief time, gasping and flapping like a freshly hooked carp.
Corin checked his scrapes and bruises. No bones broken. Just dizzy, cold and wet — nothing untoward. After several soaking moments, dripping and shivering, and wondering if things would ever go to plan, Corin staggered to his feet again. Time for a walk. Corin scanned the shore. If Hagan was watching, he’d be pissing himself. At last satisfied no one had witnessed his calamity, Corin found his feet and tentatively made his way along the jetty, checking the rotten timbers one by one with the heels of his soggy boots.
He made the strand without further mishap and quickly vanished into the deep brush of thorn and bramble above. Once hidden, Corin unfastened Clouter’s harness and let the big sword drop. He freed his cloak and tugged off his boots, upending them to spill out, the water squelching inside. Boots drained, Corin rolled the cloak as tight as he could, wringing and squeezing out droplets. That achieved, Corin slipped back into his boots, slung the crinkled cloak across his shoulder and pinned it with his wolf broach. He was half frozen and stiff with inactivity, but at least he was alive, which is always a good thing. Focus on the positive.
- A new blog post every two weeks.
- History & Mystery sections from my newsletter archives.
- Corin shorts – a diary of disasters.
- More banter about the fantasy genre and Myth and Legends
- Maybe an odd cat or dog photo 🙂
If you’d like to discover more about J.W.Webb and the ongoing Legends of Ansu fantasy series (11 books and growing) join my VIP Lounge newsletter claim your free bespoke copy of The Crimson Lady here: http://jwwebbauthor.com. Look forward to seeing you there 🙂
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