Since I’m not putting up a section of Power’s Shadow today, I thought I’d add a little to the very occasional “Things I Like” motif. Which in this case, to be fair, is oversimplifying things just a tad. I’m going to talk a little bit about a novel titled Quaternity, by Kenneth Mark Hoover. It’s due out from CZP/HarperCollins on March 31st.
Full disclosure—Mark’s an old friend. We were in a writing group together for several years and I got to watch him grow as a writer first hand. He’s a versatile guy and I knew him first for his science fiction, but he really started to hit his stride when he turned his attention to the Weird Western, specifically a character named John Marwood, a U.S. Marshall based in the town of Haxan, New Mexico Territory. Marwood isn’t your ordinary lawman. He may not even be completely human, as we understand the term. He’s also a lot older than he looks and—to be blunt about it—he’s a stone cold killer. He has to be.
Also full disclosure—Mark’s Haxan stories are not the kind of thing I normally like. In general they’re graphic, brutal, and bloody, yet they always pull me in and keep me reading, and the story is always about more, is more than what happens in it, which to me is the definition of a good story. Mark knows what he’s doing, and it shows. The reader is always in good hands, even though parts of the journey are likely to get a skosh hairy.
Quaternity is the account of what John Marwood was doing just before he becomes a marshall, riding with a band of murderers led by a madman named Captain Botis, who is another like Marwood himself—possibly immortal, perhaps fully human once, a very long time ago. Or maybe not. Also like Marwood in search of something beyond himself, something represented by an ethereal city that can only now and then be glimpsed and that may or may not really exist.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies has published a couple of the Haxan stories here, and this would be a good way to get the flavour of them for those unfamiliar with the series. There’s also a link to Mark’s web site above. Any fans of the Weird Western or just something outside the normal run of the mill fantasy would be doing themselves a favour to check it out.
Since I went first, I now declare that it’s your turn. I am forever behind on my reading and would like to get caught up—to the extent that’s possible–if time ever permits. So what have you read lately you really liked? Something that opened your eyes a bit, reminded you of why you liked reading in the first place? Talk about it in the comments below. Point me toward some good stuff. I’d appreciate it.