Introducing Thurvok and the Return of Richard Blakemore

Yes, this is a new release post, though one with a little difference. Because I’m not just announcing my own new release (okay, so I am), but that of Richard Blakemore.

Those of you who’ve been following my writing will probably recognise the name Richard Blakemore as the protagonist of the Silencer series, who is a pulp fiction writer in the 1930s – when he’s not fighting crime as the Silencer that is.

The Silencer series focusses on Richard’s crimefighting exploits — we only get brief glimpses of his writing, most notably in Fact or Fiction. However, I have always wondered just what Richard’s writing was like, especially since it is established throughout the series that The Silencer wasn’t all he wrote.

In the Silencer story Mean Streets and Dead Alleys, there is a brief scene where Richard purchases the January 1936 issue of Weird Tales and is pleased to find a new instalment of a Conan serial by Robert E. Howard, a Jirel of Joiry novelette by C.L. Moore, a Jules de Grandin novelette by Seabury Quinn as well as one of Margaret Brundage’s famous covers. He also muses that he would like to take a stab at writing something like that one day. This throwaway scene got me thinking, “What if Richard actually did write a sword and sorcery series for Jake Levonsky?”

Not that he would have used that term, of course, since the genre monicker “sword and sorcery” was only coined by Fritz Leiber in 1961. And just in case you’re wondering why Richard never acknowledges Fritz Leiber as an influence (though he was certainly one of mine), that’s because Leiber didn’t start publishing his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories until 1939, i.e. after Richard started writing the Thurvok stories.

Fast forward a couple of years to the 2018 July short story challenge, where the aim is to write a story per day during the month of July. Finding inspiration for 31 stories isn’t that easy, so I have a folder full of evocative images – photos, cover art, paintings, vintage illustrations and SFF concept art – on my harddrive which I flip through to see if any image sparks an idea. And one day, this painting by Michael Macrae entitled “Hot Dirt” did and I found myself writing a sword and sorcery story about a wandering sellsword named Thurvok who meets monsters in a desert valley. I was quite happy with the result and so I thought, “What if this is Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery adventure?”

Somehow, my mind kept returning to Thurvok and kept latching onto images and ideas that evoked sword and sorcery tales. And so, by the end of July, I had written four more stories featuring Thurvok and the motley crew of companions he picks up on his travels. Did I channel Richard Blakemore, while I was writing the Thurvok stories? I don’t know. All I know is that they were written under extreme conditions in the space of about a week, the hottest week of the year at that, and that they are quite different from my usual work. And so the idea to have a bit of metafictional fun and pass off the Thurvok stories as the work of Richard Blakemore, 1930s pulp writer and crimefighter, was born.

Hence, I decided to credit the story to Richard and pass myself off as the editor who rediscovered him. I wrote an introduction and an afterword. I also created a blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon author page for Richard and filled out a Smashwords interview in his persona, all of which was quite fun. In case you’re wondering about the author photo, it’s from a 1941 Sears catalogue.

And if you want to know how and why Richard created Thurvok, he tells his version of the story in his own words at his blog.

The first two Thurvok stories are available at all the usual e-book retailers now. There is a third coming, that will have to wait until the next announcement, even though it is already available at some retailers. And if you miss the Silencer – well, he has another adventure coming up as well.

But for now, prepare to meet Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, in…

The Valley of the Man Vultures
The Valley of the Man Vultures by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertOn his way to Krysh, a city of fabled riches, Thurvok, the sellsword, must first pass through the Valley of the Accursed Blood.

Traditionally, those travelling to Krysh make offerings at the temple at the entrance of the valley in exchange for protection on their journey. But Thurvok scoffs at such superstition and decides to continue his journey without any divine protection. His refusal to make an offering infuriates the temple priest Alberon who promptly curses Thurvok.

Thurvok is not much bothered by this – he does not believe in curses. However, the valley holds dangers that don’t particularly care whether Thurvok believes in them or not.

This is a short story of 4400 words or 15 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 4400 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

The Tomb of the Undead Slaves
The Tomb of the Undead Slaves by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThurvok, the sellsword, and his friend and companion Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, venture into the Rusted Desert to seek the tomb of the ancient king Chagurdai and the legendary treasure supposedly hidden there.

But once Thurvok and Meldom venture into the tomb, they find that a treasure is not all that’s buried there.

This is a short story of 4100 words or 13 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

More information.
Length: 4100 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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