Master of the Pit

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Over the course of publishing the first two Kane of Old Mars novels, I've talked a lot on this blog about Michael Moorcock. About how he's won more awards than you can shake a stick at, and rightly so. How he was one of the pioneers of modern fantasy, and created or popularized such fantasy tropes as the weakling antihero warrior, the struggle between Law and Chaos, and the concept of the "multiverse." So this week, rather than prattling on, I thought I'd cut right to the chase and give you a preview of the third and final Michael Kane book, Masters of the Pit:

They came in a howling pack, bursting from the trees and running down the beach towards us; grotesque parodies of human beings, waving clubs and crudely hammered swords, covered in hair and completely naked.

I could not at first believe my eyes as I drew my own sword without thinking and prepared to face them.

Though they walked upright, they had the half-human faces of dogs—bloodhounds were the nearest species I could think of.

What was more, the noises they made were indistinguishable from the baying of hounds.

So bizarre was their appearance, so sudden was their assault, that I was almost off my guard when the first club-brandishing dog-man came in to the attack.

I blocked the blow with my blade and sheared off the creature's fingers, finishing him cleanly with a thrust at his heart.

Another took his place, and more besides. I saw that we were completely surrounded by the pack. Apart from Hool Haji, Rokin and myself, there were probably only two other barbarians in our party, and there were probably some fifty of the dog-men.

I swung my sword in an arc, and it bit deep into the necks of two of the dog-men, causing them to fall.

The hounds' faces were slobbering, and the large eyes held a maniacal hatred which I had only previously seen in the eyes of mad dogs. I had the impression that if they bit me I would be infected with rabies.

Three more fell before my blade as all the old teachings of M. Clarchet, my French fencing master since childhood, came back to me.

Once again I became cool.

Once again I became nothing more than a fighting machine, concentrating entirely on defending myself against this mad attack...

James Sutter
Planet Stories Editor

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Kane of Old Mars Mars Masters of the Pit Michael Moorcock Planet Stories Sword and Planet
Sign in to start a discussion.