Sweetly are the secrets told
wrapt in crystal,
limned in gold . . .
On a planet of barren beauty near the edge of the civilized galaxy, two religions are practiced. Both sects worship the same goddess – the Triumphantes in joy and splendour, the Fideles in solemnity and selflessness. As different as day and night, sun and shadow, joy and grief, the two sects are now bound together in death . . .
A serial killer is stalking the priestesses, killing first a Triumphante, then a Fidele, in turn. Six women are now dead, and the planetary authorities are at a loss. Enter Interfed Agent Cowen Drake. A cunning professional, he must immerse himself in an unfamiliar world of stark spirituality to catch the killer. A world that will trap him between opulence and sacrifice, between duty and desire and between two extraordinary women – one who could become the killer’s ultimate victim . . .
Hesta Web, with her hot red hair and her tough, guarded coldness, is trapped with a mother who hates her and a father who is mostly away earning money on an oil rig. When Hesta discovers that her mother and her mother’s lover have had rampant sex in Hesta’s bed, she absconds with her friend Janey to the seaside.
It is the last day of the season, sun bright and sea sparkling. The bars and shops are open, the funfair spins round with shrieks and shouts. As night falls, the illuminations go on. But when Janey catches the last train to London, Hesta stays behind. She falls in with the gothic-looking, unpleasantly attractive Skilt and his subject colony of junkies and beggars. In a rotting hotel on the front, among the broken marble balustrades, the mouse-eaten rooms and the bonfire in the ballroom, Hesta takes up her new life. She hears drugged legends told beside the fire, the rumours of ghosts and the strangeness of the sea.
For now the season has ended, the seaside is deserted, the illuminations are switched off, this place is very strange. Does Skilt know its secret? Should Hesta be wary of the blond man who watches her from the pier? And what happens when the lights go out?
‘No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford’ Elmore Leonard
By day, Richard Hudson, woman-chaser and used-car salesman, works his crooked car lot with much success. By night, he returns home to a family of misfits. One day, seized by a feeling of terror and revulsion, he realises he’s wasting his life in the meaningless pursuit of money. His only hope, he decides, is to pursue his dream of making a movie.
Richard completes his cherished project, but forces beyond his control swiftly reject and destroy it. As a result, enraged and humiliated, he goes on a bender of epic proportions, drinking his way through the underbelly of Los Angeles and exacting a monstrous revenge on all who have crossed him.
The long-awaited and much-demanded sequel to A PLAGUE OF ANGELS, continuing the story of Abasio, once a farmboy, now, so Blue, his talking horse, is happy to inform people, a man who goes hither and thither helping orphans in this world where renascent mythical beasts and fairy tale ‘archetypes’ now live.
… And when he comes agross little Xulai from Tingawan, one of the Ten Thousand Islands, far across the western Sea, she informs him that she too is an orphan, and implores his help carrying out the last request of the Princess Xu-i-lok, who has been dying since the day she married Duke Justinian, who refused the royal order to marry Alicia, the Prince’s sister.
Xulai is Princess Xu-i-lok’s Soul Carrier, and the task she must complete means visiting the scary forest in the dead of night – but it is the only thing that will bring the princess a measure of peace. Abasio, helper of orphans, promises though she must do this alone, he will be near, to aid her if necessary … and it is, for there are dark things abroad …
And Xulai’s job is not yet done, for with the princess now dead, the grieving Duke is left a widower – and Alicia, Duchess Altamont, still wishes to marry him. It’s not just the man she wants, but his lands too … and her plans do not bode well for anyone except her …
Who will stop the planetary marauders?
For 6000 years the great Carina Empire ruled the galaxy – but slowly, under the remorseless erosion of centuries, the Empire faded as its Imperial bloodline ran out in weaklings who paid tribute to the wild, untamed Barbarians of the Rim. Finally came the day when the Barbarian legions struck at Carina itself, destroying in a single day and night the mightiest empire in galactic history.
In the ages that followed, the rest of the empire decayed, its individual suns and worlds losing contact, isolated Star-Kings fighting to hold their own cultures together . . . and failing. Ironically, only the Barbarians themselves remained the only coordinated power among the Near Stars. Their fleets drifted the star-trails, looting and destroying everything in their way.
One world alone stood against the dark night of savagery that was engulfing the galaxy – Parlion, the planet of the Star Magicians. And at last came the final battle for civilization in the stars.
Patrick Joya lifted his head to scan the southern sky and saw a dark bluish shape flicker against the clouds. Growing larger and larger the object undulated like a wide piece of cloth carried along a moving current of water. He could hear the babble of voices around him swelling to a mounting groan of panic. The sound went racing like a cresting wave back toward the Terminal where the thousands there would be lifting their gaze skyward. Another Space Swimmer, Pat thought with sinking heart. It seemed as if it intended to swallow up the sky – for the brightness of day had blackened into night.
With Earth teetering on the brink of extinction, only one man dares to defy the legacy of the Spaceraiders – Clovis Marca, the twilight man.
Long ago Earth, now fixed on her axis, with eternal day on one side, eternal night on the other and a ribbon of twilight in between, was ravaged by galactic raiders. Earthlings recovered, grew stronger. But now, unable to reproduce, the last humans are frenzied with final decadence. And fear.
Only Clovis Marca, the last man born on Earth, dares to brave infected space to seek the impossible solution. His dark quest leads him to face Orlando Sharvis, the scientist whose insane experiments on his own mind and body might just save the human race… but would that race then be more, or less, human?
All his life Manvar has had a dream. One day, he will escape the harshly primitive, blizzard-torn lands of the north. He will follow the paths of the Ancients and see for himself the fabled lands of the south: lands without ice and snow and perpetual night; lands of warmth and light, where life is easy and comfortable within walled cities of incredible beauty. Manvar follows his dream, but finds it hollow. Life in the wondrous city of Delphos is not the paradise it seemed.
This collection of works includes the novella The Redward Edward Papers, along with five short stories.
Delicatessen was painted in faded, faded, ornate letters on the store window, and a battered metal sign advertised a well-known soft drink. Edward had never been in the place before, but the instant he entered he recognized it as an archetype. Such places are always owned by men named Hans or Ernest and have splintery wooden floors which are swept an average of once every quarter of an hour. They smell very strongly of vinegar and have very little on display in the way of wares – on top of the glass display case, a large pickle jar, usually almost empty, inside the case a small piece of cheese, a small end of roast beef and a small end of ham, perhaps one knackwurst, a pint of salad, and some rye bread. In that part of the establishment referred to by Ernest or Hans as The Back is the beer, the soft drinks, the stove on which the coffee is made To Go. One winces at the small resources on or out of which Erny is obliged to sustain life, one goes on wincing for ten, twenty, thirty years, wondering if Erny is ever going to be able to make enough money to afford a large piece of roast beef, an entire ham, or a whole rye bread. And then one day Erny isn’t there any more and one learns that he has retired and moved to Florida where, in partnership with his brother-in-law, a retired plumbing contractor from New Brunswick or Queens, he now owns and operates three motels, a liquor license, a restaurant, and an all-night grocery. Never again will one hear Erny’s inimitable conversation, to wit:
“What can I do for you?”…
The odor of vinegar was very sharp. The man behind the counter had scant hair around his head and abundant flesh around his jaws. “You are the Grand Logothete”, said Edward. This time, so sharp and so strong the odor of vinegar that he never smelled the mandragore at all, even after he went blind and before he lost consciousness…
Her employers are the high priests of Las Vegas and she is their handmaiden. Her job is to lead the lambs to the sacrifice, to keep them happy at the tables, where her partners slaughter the suckers. She longs to be free of the entertainers rubbing elbows with thugs at the craps tables, the divorcées hocking their jewels next to all-night marriage chapels, and the little white balls bouncing along the roulette wheels twenty-four hours a day.
But no matter how hard she tries to escape her past, she’s fated to be caught for ever backstage in the sick glitter of the infamous strip with nothing but sand and neon and money, money, everywhere.
In this, the second book of the epic trilogy begun in The Forging of the Shadows, the once-glorious city of Thrull has become a place of death and despair. Seven years before, Lord Faran Groton, High Priest of the God of Darkness, overthrew Thrull and set loose his army of vampires to plague the city, waiting for the day the sun would rise no more…But the God of Light has his champions as well. A motley trio of survivors searches for the three ancient artifacts which can defeat the darkness. Traveling far beyond their own lands, they will encounter nightmares and disasters before facing their most dangerous enemies — the Dark-born Nations of the Night!
Billy Byrne was a product of the streets and alleys of Chicago’s great West Side. From Halsted to Robey, and from Grand Avenue to Lake Street there was scarce a bartender whom Billy knew not by his first name. And, in proportion to their number which was considerably less, he knew the patrolmen and plain clothes men equally as well, but not so pleasantly. His kindergarten education had commenced in an alley back of a feed-store. Here a gang of older boys and men were wont to congregate at such times as they had naught else to occupy their time, and as the bridewell was the only place in which they ever held a job for more than a day or two, they had considerable time to devote to congregating. They were pickpockets and second-story men, made and in the making, and all were muckers, ready to insult the first woman who passed, or pick a quarrel with any stranger who did not appear too burly. By night they plied their real vocations. By day they sat in the alley behind the feedstore and drank beer from a battered tin pail. The question of labor involved in transporting the pail, empty, to the saloon across the street, and returning it, full, to the alley back of the feed-store was solved by the presence of admiring and envious little boys of the neighborhood who hung, wide-eyed and thrilled, about these heroes of their childish lives. Billy Byrne, at six, was rushing the can for this noble band, and incidentally picking up his knowledge of life and the rudiments of his education. By the time he became an adult, he was another thing entirely. . . .
Darryl Whitesmith was engaged upon a new line of research at the Horological Central Institute. He was familiar with the famous saying of Minkowski: “From henceforth space in itself and time in itself sink to mere shadows and only a kind of union of the two preserves an independent existence.”
But he had no idea to what extent that saying would be borne upon him. It was difficult for Darryl’s mind to make the transition from subjective to objective time, but once that transition had been made there was no turning back. It began as a simple experiment, an experiment which concerned space-time, relativity and the four dimensional continuum.
Whitemith’s first indication that something was wrong was when the clock on the wall raced backwards in a blur of speed to fast to follow. The laboratory faded, day and night blended into a welter of greyness.
He was back in the Jurassic Age – but not for long. The machine was still dragging him back into the remote epochs of the Past…
At first it was just another hoax, another UFO story, but the sightings went on increasing.
It couldn’t be an alien, there had been so many false alarms, dramatic news-columnists had shouted ‘wolf’ so many times, that John Citizen shrugged his shoulders and said ‘nuts’ at the very mention of the word space-ship. Then one of them landed…
The things they did were not exactly friendly. In fact by the time they’d finished, they had made an old-time Viking raid seem like a social call from the vicar…
Many other attacks followed. Day after day and night after night the alien ships screamed in on their mission of death. The earth struck back. But no one could track the aliens to their lair.
They seemed to come from Nowhere. They weren’t Martians. They weren’t Venusians, and they weren’t from another system.
That left only one place where they could have originated… yet the truth was so fantastic that none of the earth governments would take it seriously until it was almost too late.
The enemy came from within! From the gigantic caverns at the earth’s core.
During the day a blazing and merciless sun beat down on “the boy” and at night a friendless and cold darkness enveloped him. It was a bleak and lonely countryside over which he had been wandering for ten years. A rare tree, bird or wild animal was the only life he encountered during his desolate trek through his young years of roaming. Infrequently, he was fortunate enough to find shelter and food in the shops of deserted villages; otherwise he foraged what he could from the nearly barren land. Contact with other humans was his innermost and greatest fear.
But the day came when his curiosity overcame his sensibilities of self-preservation and he was drawn to the sound of a great wailing not far from a place where he had come to rest.
Form that moment on his whole existence took on a radical change. His wanderings became a kaleidoscope of adventures, emotions, and responsibilities – never static, forever mobile, and potentially dangerous. There were moments when it would have been easier to turn his back, return to old ways, but somehow he knew this was an impossibility. He accepted his new fate, but still feared the greatest of all commitments until it was too late for him.
This fantasy adventure will not fail to excite and stir in every reader memories and emotions of seemingly forgotten times and moments.