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The Secret of Sinharat (Trade Paperback)

****( ) (based on 9 ratings)

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by Leigh Brackett, with an introduction by Michael Moorcock

Enter Eric John Stark, adventurer, rebel, wildman. Raised on the sun-soaked, savage world of Mercury, Stark lives among the people of the civilized solar system, but his veneer of calm masks a warrior’s spirit. In the murderous Martian Drylands the greatest criminals in the galaxy hatch a conspiracy of red revolution. Stark’s involvement leads to the forgotten ruins of the Martian Low Canals, an unlikely romance, and a secret so potent it could shake the Red Planet to its core.

In a special bonus novel, People of the Talisman, Stark ventures to the treacherous polar icecap of Mars to return a stolen talisman to an oppressed people.

The Secret of Sinharat and People of the Talisman make an excellent introduction to the work of Leigh Brackett, a pillar of science fantasy and one of the greatest writers to work in the genre. Talented enough to co-write The Big Sleep with William Faulkner and influential enough to write the original screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, Brackett’s fiction is no less distinguished than her movie work and never fails to deliver thrills and wry smiles.

  • Introduction: "Stark Rides Again" by Michael Moorcock
  • The Secret of Sinharat
  • People of the Talisman

240-page softcover trade paperback ISBN: 1-60125-047-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-047-6

"FIVE STARS. Highly recommended!" —Fred Kiesche,

"The Eric John Stark stories are clearly in the must read segment of the genre." —George T. Dodds,

About the Author

Though Leigh Douglass Brackett (1915–1978) was one of the most prominent science fiction authors of her time, she was equally adept in both crime fiction and westerns. While many of her early stories, beginning with "Martian Quest" in 1940, were science fantasy with a strong adventure theme, her first novel, "No Good From a Corpse"(1944), was a hard-boiled detective mystery that so impressed director Howard Hawks that he had his staff call in "this guy Brackett" to help William Faulkner write the script for The Big Sleep. The film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is considered a shining example of film noir, and launched Brackett's scriptwriting career, which would go on to include such notable pictures as Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye, and the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back, which was written shortly before her death and later revised significantly. During this time, however, she maintained her status as a pulp science fiction icon, writing numerous stories and occasionally collaborating with protégé Ray Bradbury or husband Edmond Hamilton. It was during this busy period that she created her most famous character, criminal and wild-man Eric John Stark, an anti-hero who allowed her to explore colonialism's affect on native cultures, a theme that pervades much of her work. Despite her death from cancer in 1978, Brackett's works live on today as some of the most important in the genre.

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Product Reviews (9)
1 to 5 of 9 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 9 ratings)

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Fun, Fast Escapism

****( )

A very enjoyable pair of stories that left me wanting more. Nothing complex, just well-written adventures. I am eagerly anticipating getting to The Ginger Star.


This Planet Stories volume is a two story collection containing

The Secret Of Sinharat
The People of the Talisman

Overall, a great pair of stories. The introduction by Michael Moorcock reminiscing about hunting down copies of Planet Stories and his friendship over the miles with Brackett and Hamilton is quite charming. Swapping tea for maple syrup, as an example.

Don't miss this one.

The Secret Of Sinharat

Barbarian hordes and witch women.

Stark's old mentor tracks him down, and hence he gets involved in trying to stop a barbarian insurrection on Mars.

All is not as it seems with the charismatic leader of the horder, or with the odd Venusian mercenary.

With some capable female assistance, Stark sword swings into action.

4 out of 5

The People of the Talisman

Unmasked warlords and almost dead cities.

With a lot of sword, spear and axe work in between, the book gets more interesting after Stark unmasks a war leader of his opposition after a good belt to the helmet is delivered. Both he and her followers are rather suprised to discover she is not a man.

More fighting of course ensues, but the aforementioned pair are forced to work together against strange aliens in an unfortunately not deserted city, to ensure things do not go badly wrong.

4 out of 5

Yep...I can see Brackett's influence on the Empire Strikes Back

****( )

Of all the Planet Stories I've read, this one had more of a Star Wars vibe than Sword and Planet.

The first story, the Secret of Sinharat was fantastic. If made into a movie, Eric John Stark could easily fit in with any modern big-screen heroes. He was definitely a blueprint for many of the darker heroes to follow.

The second story, The People of the Talisman, was a bit of a disappointment. The pacing was a bit plodding until an all-too-quick conclusion. Still, it was full of interesting characters and some great imagery.

I look forward to more Stark tales.

Part Riddick part Indiana, very cool!

****( )

This work of fiction has been a pleasant change from the usual heavy novels I read, fast paced and full of action. I'm loving this subscription and Brackets works are so far the pick of the bunch!

Cool barbarian hero!

***( )( )

"Singharat" starts off strong; Stark is cool, savvy, and tough; the action proceeds briskly; the dialogue is not that silly bombastic psuedo-fantasy garbage -- most people talk in this book, instead of walking around issuing Shakespearian pronouncements. You can almost see it like it's on TV. Understand in advance that you, the reader, will figure out the "surprise plot twist" a few days before Stark ever does -- evidently the guy is no genius -- and it gets sort of beat into the ground from there. But this is a solid story, overall, and it's over so quickly... But wait! There's a BONUS novel included, "People of the Talisman" -- and this one is WAY better than Singharat! It's exactly like Robert E. Howard meets A. Merritt. We get barbarian rages, thieves, medieval warfare, ancient artifacts, alien races with superior weapons -- everything you could want from a science fantasy novel. And Stark is at the center of it all this time, making things happen, putting his mark on the world instead of just going along with events, and he is one crafty, savage, no-nonsense barbarian hero.

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