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Legion From The Shadows by Karl Edward Wagner


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#1 Nick Morbius

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 05:09 PM

(sorry - quote function not working for me today for some reason) yeah, i'm currently getting stuck into Legion From The Shadows. Great recommendation, i'm enjoying it immensely and can see why it could possibly be regarded as his best work (well, i can over Darkness Weaves and The Road of Kings, whcih is what i have read of KEW's output so far). It is so far consistent, i haven't hit on any weak patches that have made me feel like skipping over the chapter, manages to stay true to REH, and the horror elements are well handled.

#2 Kortoso

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 06:30 PM

(sorry - quote function not working for me today for some reason) yeah, i'm currently getting stuck into Legion From The Shadows. Great recommendation, i'm enjoying it immensely and can see why it could possibly be regarded as his best work (well, i can over Darkness Weaves and The Road of Kings, whcih is what i have read of KEW's output so far). It is so far consistent, i haven't hit on any weak patches that have made me feel like skipping over the chapter, manages to stay true to REH, and the horror elements are well handled.

Tests ok for me.

#3 Khan the Commander

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 04:28 AM

I don't know why but it took me much longer to read this than it usually does to read longer books, but in the end it was completely worthwhile. I was particularly inspired by the 10-page-long spell the ancient serpent wizard Ssrhythssaa put Bran under allowing him to see the evolution of primordial earth and its inhabitants. The end turned out to be loaded with surprises literally to the last line. Now I know from experience to keep an eye out for Karl Edward Wagner.

Anyone else read this? What did you think?

#4 PaulMc

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 02:45 PM

I don't know why but it took me much longer to read this than it usually does to read longer books, but in the end it was completely worthwhile. I was particularly inspired by the 10-page-long spell the ancient serpent wizard Ssrhythssaa put Bran under allowing him to see the evolution of primordial earth and its inhabitants. The end turned out to be loaded with surprises literally to the last line. Now I know from experience to keep an eye out for Karl Edward Wagner.

Anyone else read this? What did you think?


I think it's probably the best REH pastiche to date. Last time I re-read it I read "Worms of the Earth" first and I realized just how strong Legion... was as a sequel, as well as a stand-alone story.

If you liked Wagner's work on this, definitely find his Kane stories. (not Solomon Kane, just Kane.)

And don't bother with the Smith & Tierney Bran pastiche, For the Witch of the Mists - it pales in comparison.

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#5 Mikey_C

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 07:31 PM

I'm a great fan of this book. It caught the tone perfectly, and I like all the stuff which tries to tie the history of the Picts together. KEW claimed to have completed a sequel called Queen of the Night, but sadly it appears this was never actually written.
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#6 timeless

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 01:54 AM

The book is just impossible to find, isn't it? I'd love to read it but...
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. - Norman Maclean

#7 Almuric

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:10 AM

I saw a copy at my local used bookstore and snatched it up. It was the 70s edition, mint. I think Baen reissued it in the early 90s, but even that's hard to find. Anything by KEW is rare, especially in mint condition, which is why I always grab them when I see them.
"It is more than a mortal sea. Your hands are red with blood and you follow a red sea-path, yet the fault is not wholly with you. Almighty God, when will the reign of blood cease?"

Turlogh shook his head. "Not so long as the race lasts."


--- The Dark Man, by Robert E. Howard

#8 deuce

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 07:58 PM

I'm a great fan of this book. It caught the tone perfectly, and I like all the stuff which tries to tie the history of the Picts together. KEW claimed to have completed a sequel called Queen of the Night, but sadly it appears this was never actually written.


Hey Mikey! I think KEW would have been better off treating old, senile Gonar (who seems to know little-to-nothing about Thurian/Hyborian Age matters) as an "unreliable narrator/source". From a reference guide I looked at, it appears that Zebra actually listed "QotK". That's why I was asking around so hard for it, months and months ago.

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#9 deuce

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:50 AM

I'm a great fan of this book. It caught the tone perfectly, and I like all the stuff which tries to tie the history of the Picts together. KEW claimed to have completed a sequel called Queen of the Night, but sadly it appears this was never actually written.


I thought I'd put the BMM board back into play...

As I said above, I read in a "guide to vintage paperbacks" a couple of years ago (never bought it; I read it "in-store") that Zebra had actually listed "QotN". If that's the case, I'd say it's at least plausible that Jeff Jones did a cover. I'd love to see that.

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#10 deuce

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 01:41 AM

The book is just impossible to find, isn't it? I'd love to read it but...


Timeless, if you just can't find a copy, I have an extra Zebra edition. I'll send it to you for postage. Can't leave a BMM/KEW fan hangin'... ;)

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#11 deuce

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 02:03 AM

As a postscript to the above post, I was surfin' (net-wise) and found this on the Jeffrey Jones website....

Frank Frazetta: "Jeffrey Jones is the greatest living painter."

Here's a link:
http://www.ulster.ne...rt/welcome.html

Check out "gallery 4" for some powerful stuff (and also some stuff that might be NSFW, as noted by Kortoso below).

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#12 Kortoso

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 04:14 PM

Aye, powerful... and NSFW! ;)
He's definitely one of my favorites.

#13 daniel

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 06:26 PM

since there is an agreement in this forum regarding the excellent quality of this novel. i'd appreciate any insights you may have concerning:
1: what possible reason did the undead warrior liuba have to join bran's plan? or to rise from the dead at all?
2: is she an original character or mentioned in another of howard's stories?
having read somewhere that morgain, bran's sister is impregnated( a detail that slipped my mind since the last reading) was it possible that k.e.wagner would have continued the story? rumors circulate about a novel titled "the queen of night" that is either unwritten or lost as a manuscript.

anyway, this is a pasteich that is every inch a worthy successor to the source material.

#14 deuce

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 12:26 AM

since there is an agreement in this forum regarding the excellent quality of this novel. i'd appreciate any insights you may have concerning:
1: what possible reason did the undead warrior liuba have to join bran's plan? or to rise from the dead at all?


Hey Daniel! Good to see you back on the forum. :) KEW seemed (IMO) to leave Liuba's motivations a little bit nebulous. It might be something as simple as the fact that she and BMM were both Picts fighting blood-enemies of the Picts. As for her rising from the dead, perhaps there was a curse upon her that she must "sleep" until the king of the Nameless Tribe entered her tomb (or something like that :P)


2: is she an original character or mentioned in another of howard's stories?
having read somewhere that morgain, bran's sister is impregnated( a detail that slipped my mind since the last reading) was it possible that k.e.wagner would have continued the story? rumors circulate about a novel titled "the queen of night" that is either unwritten or lost as a manuscript.


Liuba was created by Wagner. It seems that KEW and the editors at Zebra™ definitely planned to continue BMM's adventures. Supposedly, they even had an artist (Jeffrey Jones?) do a cover painting and announced the book as forthcoming. According to David Drake, KEW had a "concept", but never really put anything to paper.

anyway, this is a pasteich that is every inch a worthy successor to the source material.


I second that emotion, sword-brother.

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#15 Almuric

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 04:44 AM

Easily the best REH pastiche, ever. He references at least a dozen different stories and makes it all fit flawlessly.
"It is more than a mortal sea. Your hands are red with blood and you follow a red sea-path, yet the fault is not wholly with you. Almighty God, when will the reign of blood cease?"

Turlogh shook his head. "Not so long as the race lasts."


--- The Dark Man, by Robert E. Howard

#16 daniel

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:59 PM

since there is an agreement in this forum regarding the excellent quality of this novel. i'd appreciate any insights you may have concerning:
1: what possible reason did the undead warrior liuba have to join bran's plan? or to rise from the dead at all?


Hey Daniel! Good to see you back on the forum. :) KEW seemed (IMO) to leave Liuba's motivations a little bit nebulous. It might be something as simple as the fact that she and BMM were both Picts fighting blood-enemies of the Picts. As for her rising from the dead, perhaps there was a curse upon her that she must "sleep" until the king of the Nameless Tribe entered her tomb (or something like that :P)


2: is she an original character or mentioned in another of howard's stories?
having read somewhere that morgain, bran's sister is impregnated( a detail that slipped my mind since the last reading) was it possible that k.e.wagner would have continued the story? rumors circulate about a novel titled "the queen of night" that is either unwritten or lost as a manuscript.


Liuba was created by Wagner. It seems that KEW and the editors at Zebra™ definitely planned to continue BMM's adventures. Supposedly, they even had an artist (Jeffrey Jones?) do a cover painting and announced the book as forthcoming. According to David Drake, KEW had a "concept", but never really put anything to paper.

anyway, this is a pasteich that is every inch a worthy successor to the source material.


I second that emotion, sword-brother.


thank you for replying. the baen reprint cover was by ken kelly. perhaps the second cover was his as well?
anyhow, i always felt that k.e. wagner was the last practitioner of unadulterated sword-and sorcery. with his passing, the breed has died as well as the art. we are up to our ears in elves now.

#17 PaulMc

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 06:47 PM

anyhow, i always felt that k.e. wagner was the last practitioner of unadulterated sword-and sorcery. with his passing, the breed has died as well as the art. we are up to our ears in elves now.


"We are up to our ears in elves now."

LOL! That's the most concise description of the current glut of Tolkein-esque & lack of new sword-and-sorcery that I've heard!

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#18 daniel

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:06 PM

anyhow, i always felt that k.e. wagner was the last practitioner of unadulterated sword-and sorcery. with his passing, the breed has died as well as the art. we are up to our ears in elves now.


"We are up to our ears in elves now."

LOL! That's the most concise description of the current glut of Tolkein-esque & lack of new sword-and-sorcery that I've heard!


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#19 Kev

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 06:27 PM

since there is an agreement in this forum regarding the excellent quality of this novel. i'd appreciate any insights you may have concerning:
1: what possible reason did the undead warrior liuba have to join bran's plan? or to rise from the dead at all?
2: is she an original character or mentioned in another of howard's stories?
having read somewhere that morgain, bran's sister is impregnated( a detail that slipped my mind since the last reading) was it possible that k.e.wagner would have continued the story? rumors circulate about a novel titled "the queen of night" that is either unwritten or lost as a manuscript.


anyway, this is a pasteich that is every inch a worthy successor to the source material.


I'm afraid we disagree here.
I just finished this one myself and the Liuba character really left me scratching my head.

SPOILERS AHEAD (you have been warned)

Talk about a Deus Ex Machina! :rolleyes: She shows up out of the blue and saved Bran what 3 times? She's an expert swordswoman, can see in the dark, and can command a ghost army to save the day at the climatic final battle. And then quite literally who she is, was revealed on the last page of the book. Her character left me cold to the entire (otherwise well written) book.

Perhaps if there had been a second book (a direct sequel to this one), the motivations of her character could have been fleshed out and made me warm to the character. But with only the one novel, I can't recommend Legion From the Shadows at all. However Karl's Conan pastiche (The Road of Kings) has my highest recommendation.


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Edited by Kev, 22 July 2013 - 01:17 AM.

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#20 brakkk60526

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 01:45 AM

I love wagners stuff[Kane and horror stories]but his howard stuff fell short.I read that he was under deadline presure and had to hurry the howard stuff.His Kane is still the best s/s ever done.