Monday, November 19, 2012

Queen of the Night

   On one of my rambles around the internet I came across the scan above. It appears to be the cover for the follow up to Karl Edward Wagner's Bran Mak Morn pastiche, Legion From the Shadows, but from what I've heard, Wagner never wrote this book, though he sometimes claimed that he did. In the last interview he gave he said:

"I was asked to write some Robert E. Howard pastiches by Glenn Lord via my agent, Kirby McCauley. None of us were happy with the sorry state of the then-current crop, and I was brought in as a hired gun to try to sort the matter out. Legion From The Shadows and The Road of Kings were both difficult to write. I wrote in my own style, remaining true to Howard’s characters.
The second Bran Mak Morn novel, Queen of the Night, was held back for various reasons. It will be published in England later this year (1994) as a double volume."

   Still, according to friends and colleagues, the book was never written. When I came across this scan, however, I noted that there was copy on the back. Usually this is copy telling the reader what the book is about, so I wondered if perhaps Wagner had at least given a his publisher a synopsis. The text is hard to read in this small scan, (Anyone got a bigger one?) but from what I can make out the plot is pretty general.
   So being the intrepid journalist that I am, I decided to email the guy the scan had apparently come from, author David Drake, friend and occasional collaborator of KEW. Drake was kind enough to reply. he said:

    "Karl must have told his Zebra editor that he was going to set it in Atlantis, because he was really pissed when the Bran novel by...doggone...I'm blocking on the names...came out, it was set in Atlantis. There was never a synopsis or anything whatever written."

   So perhaps Drake was right and an editor at Zebra cobbled together some back cover copy based on a conversation with KEW. Interesting stuff.

12 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

Tierney & Smith wrote the follow-on Bran Mak Morn novel, For the Witch of the Mists. (they also did the six Red Sonja novels.)

I found it a very dull read, unfortunately. Nothing up to the par KEW managed with Legion from the Shadows.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Paul, I've heard mixed reviews of For the Witch of The Mists. Think I have a copy somewhere. I do have the Red Sonja books. My favorite of Tierney's though are his Simon Magus stories. Terrific little S&S yarns.

Wagner is hard to beat. An amazing writer gone too soon.

Kate Rothwell said...

Wow. Doing cover art before the book's turned in and approved by the editor? That's wacked.

I had two books with zebra and I think the art department spent ten minutes tops working on the covers.

Keith said...

Considering some of the things I've heard about Zebra, that wouldn't surprise me.

JasonZavoda said...


Was it Andrew Offut who Drake was refering to about the other Bran novels?

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Kate, yeah that was what struck me as odd about it. If they had nothing, how did they get as far as a cover. I assume Drake would know though, as he and Wagner were still tight at the time that Legion of the Shadows was written.

Jason, I think he meant Tierney and Smith. Offut wrote a ton of Cormac Mac Art pastiches, but I don't recall if he did a Bran Mak Morn or not.

j purdie said...

I'm surprised the internet didn't throw up the following while you were rambling around it:

http://www.rehupa.com/?p=223

Weird, considering your previous post, or what?

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I did see that one, J. Think it came up because of Murgunstrumm, yes. Another bit of the puzzle.

James Reasoner said...

I've written a number of books where the cover was done before the book was written. Two this year, in fact. It happens.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Indeed James. It was more the copy on the back that I wondered about than the cover itself.

James Reasoner said...

In my case, I just wrote the books to match the cover copy. I was a pinch-hitter on these and didn't plot them.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

That impresses the heck out of me. You would have fit right in back in the days of the pulps, sir.