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"The Twelve Children of Paris" by Tim Willocks (REH Fan)


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#1 Fierro

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

At long last. My copy of Tim Willocks' sequel to his masterpiece The Religion is on its way from Amazon UK. Where The Religion was set in the 1565 Great Siege of Malta, the sequel is set during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572. His hero is a Saxon-born, Turk-captured former Janissary named Mattias Tannhauser.

 

This from The Cimmerian:

Tannhauser is a magnificent, brawling soldier-of-fortune to warm the cockles of any Howard aficionado’s heart. Captured as a youth and raised as an Ottoman Janissary, he is a man apart, a skeptic of all faiths, an arms dealer, a lover of women and of life.

 

 

Twelve Children has been a long time coming — seven years. Willocks says his Tannhauser tales are all-consuming. It shows in the writing; the reader, too, is consumed. Few books have transported me as completely as The Religion. For days I lived in 1565. I expect the same of Twelve Children. It will likely be a harrowing experience. Willocks spares nothing.

 

Those who look deeply into Howard's work will find reading Willocks rewarding. Ain't that right Deuce?

 

An in-depth interview may be found here.

 

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#2 PaulMc

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 06:50 PM

I might break down soon and do that, if it doesn't get a North American date by summer's end.


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#3 Fierro

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:58 PM

Costs about the same, maybe an extra $5. Looks like his U.S. publisher passed on it. He is asked about it in the interview but doesn't go there. It's a head-scratcher, but publishing is weird right now.



#4 Kaziglu Bey

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:13 PM

I ordered myself a copy from Amazon UK this morning. With shipping, it's costing me a pretty reasonable $24.22. Not a bad deal at all for a 768 page hardcover. Hell, you'd probably be paying close to that (or more) if it was available in the US, after sales tax and/or shipping anyway.

 

Can't wait to get it. I'm with you, Fierro: been waiting expectantly for this since I read The Religion seven years ago.


Edited by Kaziglu Bey, 21 May 2013 - 11:15 PM.


#5 Fierro

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:26 AM

My copy has arrived and I have plunged in. I tell you, any Howard fan will love this stuff. Well worth ordering from overseas.



#6 PaulMc

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:08 PM

My copy has arrived and I have plunged in. I tell you, any Howard fan will love this stuff. Well worth ordering from overseas.

 

You've convinced me.  I'll be ordering from the UK this week.


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#7 Fierro

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

My Amazon review:

 

The Metaphysics of Massacre

The best historical fiction transports us to another time and place, while informing our understanding of our own. As Mattias Tannhauser harrows Hell in Paris, 1572, a chord is struck that reverberates across centuries.

For the mechanics and metaphysics of massacre remain constant: A witch’s brew of the power-lust of the mighty, ideological sectarianism, be it religious or political or both, and man’s usually latent, but nevertheless insatiable lust for his neighbor’s blood. The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, brought here so vividly to life, finds its parallels in the destruction of the Paris Commune, the New York City Draft Riots, the Rape of Nanking, in pogroms and purges without number.

Even now, men eat the hearts of other men as Syria is ripped apart in a welter of blood.

“The Twelve Children of Paris” is, indeed, a harrowing tale, yet one full of moments of strange grace and beauty. The writing soars, even as it wades through a Paris gutters running with the blood of murdered Huguenots  — and of those who stand between Tannhauser and those he loves. Willocks’ work is not for everyone. You will know within a page whether you are  suited for this journey.



#8 PaulMc

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:57 PM

Sounds as intense and wonderful as hoped for.


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#9 ollonois

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:52 PM

I read that this book is more suspenseful and less epic than The Religion


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#10 Fierro

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:57 PM

I read that this book is more suspenseful and less epic than The Religion

That is an accurate description. Although the slaughter is on an epic (and historically accurate) scale. Some 3,000 Huguenots were killed over a three day period (the book covers 36 hours).


Edited by Fierro, 07 June 2013 - 09:58 PM.


#11 deuce

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 06:50 AM

Just got my copy of "Twelve Children" in the mail. The first two paragraphs:

 

"Now he rode through a country gutted by war and bleeding in its aftermath, where the wageless soldiers of delinquent kings yet plied their trade, where kindness was folly and cruelty strength, where none dared claim his brother as his keeper.

 

He passed gallows trees where red-legged crows roosted black as their carrion, where knots of children in rags and tags returned his gaze in silence. He passed the roofless hulks of burned churches where shards of stained glass glimmered like abandoned treasures on the chancel floor."

 

Willocks' Tannhauser, on his way to Paris, 1572. Solomon Kane's era, but more than a bit of Conan there as well.

 

Looking forward to this. Always good to read about someone having a worse time than one's ownself.   :)

 

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#12 deuce

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 07:07 AM

 

 

Those who look deeply into Howard's work will find reading Willocks rewarding. Ain't that right Deuce?

 

An in-depth interview may be found here.

 

 

Damned straight, Fierro.


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#13 PaulMc

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:08 PM

Just got my copy of "Twelve Children" in the mail. The first two paragraphs:

 

"Now he rode through a country gutted by war and bleeding in its aftermath, where the wageless soldiers of delinquent kings yet plied their trade, where kindness was folly and cruelty strength, where none dared claim his brother as his keeper.

 

He passed gallows trees where red-legged crows roosted black as their carrion, where knots of children in rags and tags returned his gaze in silence. He passed the roofless hulks of burned churches where shards of stained glass glimmered like abandoned treasures on the chancel floor."

 

Willocks' Tannhauser, on his way to Paris, 1572. Solomon Kane's era, but more than a bit of Conan there as well.

 

Looking forward to the this. Always good to read about someone having a worse time than one's ownself.   :)

 

 

I got mine last week.  (what a cover!)

 

It's my next read.  I think I'll start it tonight if time allows.


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#14 PaulMc

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 02:14 PM

“The Twelve Children of Paris” is, indeed, a harrowing tale, yet one full of moments of strange grace and beauty. The writing soars, even as it wades through a Paris gutters running with the blood of murdered Huguenots  — and of those who stand between Tannhauser and those he loves. Willocks’ work is not for everyone. You will know within a page whether you are  suited for this journey.

 

You got that right, ten-fold.

 

I'm on page 23 and completely enraptured in it already.


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#15 John Maddox Roberts

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:58 PM

I've just ordered it. That is a good cover, unfortunately the character's outfit is a little old-fashioned for 1572. More like 1372.



#16 Keith J Taylor

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 02:32 PM

Yes!  THE RELIGION and THE TWELVE CHILDREN OF PARIS are high on my list.  Read the first chapter of the latter online and was as struck by distinct echoes of REH as others have been.  Tannhauser is a great character.  Wouldn't wish to be any of the people who got in his way as he was searching for his pregnant wife.

 

As you say, Deuce ... Solomon Kane's era.  In fact I speculated when I wrote a "timeline" for him that he actually had been in Paris, aged 18, at the time of the massacre, and before that, as a mere lad, had sailed with the Sea Beggars.  Francis Walsingham really was in Paris then, and, to his credit, sheltered a number of Huguenots in his house and helped them escape the slaughter.  Don't know if Walsingham will get a mention in Willocks' book or not.



#17 PaulMc

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

Found this.  Heheh.

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk...e-hard-bastard/

 

One-Hard-Bastard.jpg


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#18 deuce

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 12:35 PM

Found this.  Heheh.

 

http://www.lrb.co.uk...e-hard-bastard/

 

One-Hard-Bastard.jpg

 

 

Abso-effin'-lutely, Mr. McNamee.

 

If someone had told me 4yrs ago (Jim Cornelius did, basically) that my favorite new fictional character of the 21st century would be a 16th century Carpathian Saxon raised by Turkish Janissaries, I'd have looked sideways at 'im. Turns out, Fierro was right.

 

I finished reading "Twelve Children" a few weeks ago.  Honestly, I didn't have much hope that Willocks could equal The Religion. C'mon, how do you follow the frikkin' Siege of Malta? That blood-drenched collision of cultures defines the term "EPIC".

 

Willocks inverted his previous plotline.  Instead of trying to keep enemies outside the walls from getting in, Tannhauser has to escape from the largest city in Christendom. A city which has been utterly cut off from the rest of the world by sectarian militias.

 

In Howardian terms, I'd describe it as " Beyond the Black River in Zamora, City of Thieves". Every feral, fanatical and/or decadent citizen of Paris is out to get their kicks/even scores whilst the horrors of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre rage on. 

 

In cinematic terms, comparisons with Escape From New York and Taken would both be valid, but nowhere near definitive.

 

The promo at the top of this post is accurate. Tannhauser maims/kills/damages well over fifty people in a 36hr period. He has a mission and it is best if you don't get in his way. In Willocks' world, Tannhauser is the equivalent of Conan. The baddest mofo striding through a deathly valley SWARMING with bad mofos (Paris had its own "Assassins' Guild" at the time).

 

Full of poetry and pathos right alongside bucket after bucket of bloody mayhem, I can say that The Twelve Children of Paris isn't quite like any novel I've ever read. I can also say that I'll be rereading it (just like The Religion) from now until my dying day.


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#19 PaulMc

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:58 PM

Full of poetry and pathos right alongside bucket after bucket of bloody mayhem, I can say that The Twelve Children of Paris isn't quite like any novel I've ever read. I can also say that I'll be rereading it (just like The Religion) from now until my dying day.

 

Agreed on all points.  I finished it the other night.  Tannhauser is an absolute favorite character of mine now.  Willocks pulled it off again.  It's as good as The Religion and entirely different from it, too - which is how any truly great sequel should be - a new story, not a retread.

 

There are surprises plenty plot-wise, and I never knew who would survive or who would die right until the final page.

 

If Willocks sticks to his vision of a trilogy, he needs to outdo himself twice over.  After The Twelve Children of Paris, I have utter confidence he can do that.

 

Not to derail this too much, but I keep getting images of Karl Edward Wagner's Kane when I'm reading Tannhauser.  They both have the same build, hair, and murderous disposition.  If Kane were a historical character, not fantasy, I can't help thinking he would have been Tannhauser.  And not just appearance and disposition - once Tannhauser and the Infant finally met, I kept thinking of "Two Suns Setting."

 

I'm wondering if you felt any of that, too, or was it just me?  ;)

 

Truly an awe-inspiring novel.


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#20 deuce

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:02 AM

One-Hard-Bastard.jpg

 

"Break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed..."

 

~ Robert E. Howard ~

 

Just got through talking with a friend tonight. We both agreed that "Twelve Children" is the best novel written in the second decade of this Twenty-First Century (so far). Yeah, that good.

 

Unless you are just a fan of REH's humorous Western and boxing yarns, then you should read this book. The feral apes of civilization are unleashed in medieval Paris, 1572.

 

One man has a singular mission. Innocent? Guilty? Man, woman, child? NONE of that matters. Tannhauser is out to protect/save his own. As I said: NOTHING else matters. He's perfectly willing to kill everyone in Paris.

 

If you don't read this novel, it is your loss (until you finally wise up and do it anyway). Look it up. I've never said that about any non-REH story ever on this forum.

 

Quite honestly, the first hundred pages were worth the price of admission. Tannhauser is an absolute bad-ass of a breed rarely seen these days. Neither nihilist nor psychopath, he simply accepts the world for what it is and acts accordingly. He is the baddest mo-fo in the Valley of Death (ie, Paris, 1572). Very likely, Tannhauser is the deadliest human being on the planet at that moment. A man most gifted in the art of lethality.

 

Don't waste your time on other crap (some of which isn't "bad" crap, mayhap). You can read all that later. The Twelve Children of Paris is the real deal. I have no idea how to state it in a more blunt and honest fashion.


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