Read Death Angel's Shadow by Karl Edward Wagner Free Online
Book Title: Death Angel's Shadow|
The author of the book: Karl Edward Wagner
Edition: Warner Books (NY)
Date of issue: June 1st 1983
ISBN 13: 9780446307499
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 531 KB
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Loaded: 1620 times
Reader ratings: 7.4
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(1978 Warner Books mass-market. Cover by Frank Frazetta, 205 pages)
As much as I enjoy the Kane novels, the short stories and novellas are where it's at for me. Whereas the novels usually have a wide scope and are filled with political machinations and epic battles, the stories mostly take place in one location, and there's much more of a horror bent to them. Though not quite at the same level for me as Wagner's later Kane collection, Night Winds, this was still a top-notch example of swords and sorcery. It contains two longer novellas, "Reflections for the Winter of My Soul" and "Cold Light," as well as a novelette, "Mirage."
All three are excellent combinations of horror and fantasy, but my favorite by far was the opening tale, "Reflections" (which has been rumored to be in development for the big screen for years). It takes place in an isolated castle during the middle of a brutal winter, where Kane -- a barbaric genius/madman who's been cursed by God to live and wander forever, watching civilizations rise and fall, never to find true love for more than fleeting moments (from his long life's perspective) -- hopes to find refuge. Too bad there's a werewolf loose, killing off the residents one by one, and Kane must figure out who among them all is the werewolf before it's too late. It's a fine blend of British cozy-style whoddunits and supernatural horror.
"Cold Light" was very good as well, if a little on the long side. It's sort of a S&S version of Rambo: First Blood, with Kane holed up in an old ghost town, and forced to take out his do-gooder pursuers one by one through creative means. "Mirage, " the shortest tale here, is a Gothic vampire tale complete with haunted forest and ruined castle. Some people I see consider this a weaker Kane tale, but I really dug the old-school Gothic feel of it.
Those new to Kane may want to start with Night Winds, as Wagner's prose became much more refined over the years (with less adverbs and exclamation marks), but Death Angel's Shadow is still required reading for fans of secondary world fantasy and swords and sorcery, as long as you don't mind a "hero" who's pretty selfish, even evil at times (at least from our comparatively limited worldview). He's more of a villain than an anti-hero, but that doesn't make him and his adventures any less compelling.
It's too bad Wagner never got around to the planned origin novels and "Kane in modern times" novels before his untimely death, but I'm grateful for what little we did get. During a 20-year career, in which he was anything but prolific after the first few, he managed to put most other fantasy and horror writers of the era to shame.
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Read information about the authorKarl Edward Wagner (12 December 1945 – 13 October 1994) was an American writer, editor and publisher of horror, science fiction, and heroic fantasy, who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and originally trained as a psychiatrist. His disillusionment with the medical profession can be seen in the stories "The Fourth Seal" and "Into Whose Hands". He described his world view as nihilistic, anarchistic and absurdist, and claimed, not entirely seriously, to be related to "an opera composer named Richard". Wagner also admired the cinema of Sam Peckinpah, stating "I worship the film The Wild Bunch".
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