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It’s here! My first-ever short story collection,
THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG, is now available as a Kindle e-book at Amazon.com for $4.99.

(A Nook version will follow soon, and there are plans for a  Limited Edition print version eventually.)

At last the entire Zang Cycle is presented in a single volume. It all began with “The Persecution of Artifice the Quill” in WEIRD TALES #340, then the story-cycle  hopped over to BLACK GATE magazine for the next few years. Five of the tales were published in WT and BG, while the remaining seven tales are presented here for the first time.

I’ve spent the last couple of months perfecting, revising, and updating the text of each story. Josh Finney (Titanium Rain) did the amazing cover art, which features Artifice the Quill and Taizo of Narr, who star in most of the stories. The grand finale to the entire cycle is a 16,000-word novella, “Spilling the Blood of the World.”

In one sense THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG is a series of stories about the power of storytelling. The tales that Artifice writes are brought to life by his skilled troupe of performers and the clever illusions of Mordeau the Showman. Is this Sword & Sorcery? More like “Pen & Sorcery”.  When I began writing the first of these tales, I wanted something rather different for fantasy: a central protagonist who is, first and foremost, an intellectual.

The cover of WT #340 features the deadly Vizarchs from "The Persecution of Artifice the Quill."

The cover of WT #340 featured the deadly Vizarchs from “The Persecution of Artifice the Quill,” the story that began the Zang Cycle.

Artifice is a writer whose fame in Narr the Golden City thrusts him into a world of peril. The Quill isn’t saddled with the role of a reluctant savior, or weaned on blood and iron to lead a conquering army. No, his is a thinker, a philosopher, an Artist. His journey is one of discovery, as he explores the link between Art and Sorcery.

Taizo of Narr started off as a supporting character, but drew my attention again and again, until he became the “second lead” of the series. In many ways he is the opposite of Artifice—his tool is a blade, not a pen. Taizo begins as a self-concerned opportunist, a thief and smuggler. His are the arts of larceny and skullduggery. Unlike Artifice, who is a slave to his craft, Taizo is driven by raw emotions. He is a man pushed too far, and ultimately bent on revenge at all cost.

Definitely there are some statements about the nature of Art and its essential relationship to humanity in these stories. You may see a reflection of today’s self-obsessed politicians in the narcissistic personages of the Sorcerer Kings. You may see your local tortured artist glimmering in the eyes of Artifice the Quill. You may see yourself in the grieving, desperate moments of Taizo’s journey.

“The Persecution of Artifice the Quill” was my first professionally published story, and it gave birth to this entire cycle. I always intended to collect these stories someday under a single cover. I’m really glad that day has come at last.

Artifice and Taizo have been waiting long enough…