Birthday Gifts

Well, birthday number forty-one came and went with little a'notice. Being in a new town and not knowing hardly a soul here made it a very low key affair this year, which is more than fine by me. I have never been the type of person to keep up with or even enjoy my own birthday. I know, I am a giant stick in the mud!

Anyway, to my delight I found a package from Amazon on my doorstep this evening. Upon opening I realized this was a birthday gift from my fiancée Stephanie... and I thought she forgot! :-)

So, here is what was in the box:

All of these books were on my Amazon wish list, so Steph made me very happy man with this gift! These are collections of short stories by Harold Lamb, who was a pulp writer during the same period when H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard were actively pursuing careers in the field. Lamb specialized in historical adventures ranging from crusader tales (Swords from the West) to tales of the exotic East (Swords from the Desert) to high sea tales involving Vikings, pirates and explorers (Swords from the Sea) and many others. There are a couple of other books in this series that collect his Cossack tales (Swords from the Steppes) and his tales of Genghis Khan (Swords from the East), and I am sure I will be picking these up in the future.

(Yes, I realize I used the word "tales" an awful lot in this last paragraph, which is most appropriate because I believe these are not just mere stories, but they are TALES!)

What is very cool for me is that this will be my first exposure to any of Lamb's work. I have occasionally seen his name from time to time in articles dealing with high adventure pulp fiction, but I have never read any of his stuff. In recent years I have gravitated more and more toward historical fantasy and adventure, so these books are very appealing to me. I do not believe Lamb's work has much in the way of the weird or the fantastique in it, but who cares? Just looking over these books I can say this, it looks like Harold Lamb hit all the sweet spots in recorded history for his subject matter. From the cover art to the names of the stories, these books ooze ADVENTURE!

I am as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning! Now, which one should I start with? Vikings, of course!
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