Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Grey Maiden, the story of a sword through the ages by Arthur D. Howden Smith (1929)

Image courtesy of Pulpflakes

Arthur D. Howden Smith (1887-1945) was a writer and journalist, who spent a year fighting against the Ottoman Empire alongside Macedonian revolutionaries and wrote adventure stories for Pulp Magazines. He even wrote a prequel to Stevenson's Treasure Island, with the approval of his estate.

Grey Maiden is a collection of stories about the sword as it goes from owner to owner down the centuries. These stories were originally published in Adventure magazine, and they all stand indepentantly. The stories include a type of lost race story of the survival of the Sixth Legion in Britain after the end of Roman rule, the story of vengeane for the theft of rightfully inherited property in Iceland or how the sword was acquired by a warlord of Muhammad.

Oddly enough, the very first story, The Forging, was not published in the original 1929 edition which is in the public domain today. It is utterly baffling why they would omit the story, especially as the Egyptian origin of the sword is still refferenced in several of the other stories. Luckil Black Mask Magazine has posted the story online and so it can be accessed below.


There is also a 2014 paperback edition from Atlus Press called Grey Maiden: The Story of a Sword Through the Ages, The Complete Saga.

Either way I highly recommend this book, it is one of a handful of titles I would rank as exceptional.

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