If you haven’t read these two things yet, you should do it now. NOW, I said! What the hell is wrong with you? 🙂
The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul (free on the Baen Publishing website) is a nifty short story by Larry Correia, born out of the worldbuilding for his Son of the Black Sword series (which I haven’t read — what the hell is wrong with me? — but I hear is awesome).
Correia got his start with the popular Monster Hunters International series, which is great, pulp-style fun. I enjoyed the heck out of those books. He was a gifted storyteller from the start, but (initializing critic mode…) in his first couple of Monster Hunter outings, was just barely good enough as a writer to stay out of his own way. If this story (which apparently was a “publisher wanted a short story so I wrote this one last week” kind of thing) and the general consensus on Son of the Black Sword are any indication, Correia has turned himself into a pretty amazing fantasy writer since then.
As a nonfiction companion to The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul, Baen also published an article by swordfighting/martial arts expert Whit Williams, titled The Swords of Lok.
Lok is the fictional setting of Son of the Black Sword, and with the titular Black Sword as its entree, the article takes a fascinating, well-informed look not only at why swords are the way they are, but also at why swords in the first place.
If you know your weapons history, this will be an entertaining refresher and maybe an occasional challenge on ground you’ve already covered. And if (like me) you’re more of a casual observer or consumer of weapon-oriented stories, it could also be an eye-opener.
So go forth and read!
And if you’re one of the benighted few who haven’t yet, visit Larry Correia’s blog while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.
Featured image is a sword based on the Greek xiphos and made by Zombie Tools. Despite the ridiculous name, the shop turns out functional weapons…most of which would also look right at home in an apocalyptic movie or a fantasy novel.