Inspired by David Gemmell, a writer lamentably forgotten since his untimely death salmost a decade ago, I’ve written and just had published a new story, an 18,000 word novella, called Only the Guilty Live online at Sword and Sorcery Magazine.
I grew up on Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings, and Gemmell (and of course Tolkien) but it was Gemmell, particularly his earliest works, which captivated me. I suppose you have to be a teenager male to get the full impact of alpha males like Tenaka Khan, or Waylander, or the greatest of them all, Druss the Legend.
In the spirit of Druss, who led the defenders of the siege of Dros Delnoch against the Nadir Horde in Gemmell’s first, and best book, Legend, I wrote Only the Guilty Live. Instead of a tale about a siege, however, my story is about the hero of that siege, and what came after for him. Or, as the introduction says,’A soldier haunted by survivor’s guilt leads a dangerous mission into a besieged city.’
It’s much more than that – it’s a pretty dark fantasy story, with a damaged lead character leading a group of equally damaged people into the heart of a siege. There’s fighting aplenty, a sorcerer and a creature so dark some of my friends could only look at me after reading the story and shake their heads.
Beyond that, I think it’s one of my best stories and mixes two of my greatest reading loves – exciting action filled fantasy tinged with dark, dark horror.
For those looking into the writing process, I began it in early 2016, spent about three months writing it, then spent the rest of the year being diverted by other projects before I knuckled down and did a series of massive edits. I’d like to thank a friend of mine, Clint, for reading the story and offering some very perceptive feedback – there’s a lost scene somewhere on my hard drive that he rightly pointed out was probably going a bit too far. Thanks, mate!
Okay. Enough wittering. The story is free, so go read the damn thing and tell me what you think either here or via my twitter handle @dread_sinister