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Sumath

Gloranthan Novel in Disguise

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Has anyone read Queen's Heir by John Boyle?

It is billed as 'A fantasy set amongst the Hittites at the end of the Bronze Age', but it's essentially a novel set in Glorantha, with Hittites for Sartarites, Tarhunt for Orlanth, Warrunk for Humakt etc.

Everything mirrors Glorantha, whether it be the landscape (e.g. they travel through a wasteland which includes facsimiles of Pavis, the Block, the Dead Place etc), the people (Darklings are Uz, Lupaku are Telmori, Silmurth seems to be a young Argrath), the magic (spell matrices, Wardings, Power, divine magic, spirits and healing spells all work in a Gloranthan manner), the cities (Nochet is Byzantium with matrilineal royal succession), the temples (Earth temples are partially built underground and protected by giant snake-beings) and even the mythological history (beginning of time, the 'Draconic Empire' instead of the EWF). 

It reads a lot like someone's RuneQuest campaign (plenty of side quests off the main storyline), and spends a bit of time fleshing out Humakti Warrunki training, examinations and temple politics. Worth a read - don't be put off by the lack of proofreading in the first couple of chapters (typos, missing words) as it gets better. 

The main character, Joren, is a something of a Mary Sue, but it's quite good fun figuring out where you are in Glorantha at any particular moment in the text... It's part of a series called the Children of Khetar, and I'm reading the second volume at the moment, which is unfortunately much less Gloranthan and less engaging for it.

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I found an interview with him:

http://www.castaliahouse.com/john-boyle-the-queens-heir/

He's, er, definitely influenced by Glorantha:

"You asked about the possible influence of D&D or other games; well, I don’t really know much about Dungeons & Dragons, but I was heavily influenced by the work of Greg Stafford and Steve Perrin after meeting them in the late 70’s and Sandy Petersen as well.  I did some writing for Chaosium Inc., small pieces for the RuneQuest and Stormbringer game systems and the influence of Stafford’s Glorantha runs through Queen’s Heir.  I took the idea for the general framework of my world from a book called The Sword of Rhiannon, by Leigh Brackett.  When I went looking for a society to hang from that framework, I remembered something Greg Stafford once wrote about the Hittites and I looked them over and was drawn by the phrase “The Thousand Gods of the Hittites” (some sources say 10,000, the Hittites mention gods everywhere and often give nothing more than their names)."

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2 hours ago, Sumath said:

I hadn't realised he'd written for Chaosium, but that explains a lot.

He was a co-author on the RQ2 Borderlands scenarios.

He had also worked on a Gloranthan novel called the Road of Kings, an excerpt of which was published in Gloranthan Visions. That was to be a saga of Orlkarla the Black, last of the Maboder tribe, if I recall correctly.

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

He was a co-author on the RQ2 Borderlands scenarios.

And there's his name, first on the list under Additional Materials. Evidently, my Perception modifier is not what it should be.

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"Queens Heir" and "The Road of Kings" are one and the same. 

I don´t remember if "Queens Heir" was supposed to be the fist book of the "Road of Kings" line, or if "The Road of Kings" was the first book of the "Queens Heir" line. 

Have a look at the "Glorantha Visions" book (which came in the "Hero Wars Deluxe Box"): The title of the story itself as well as in the contents page is "The Road of Kings". On the back of the same book this piece of fiction is called "Queens Heir".

I have a complete file of that novel (in it´s gloranthan version) in my collection (i assume that i got it in 2000 as part of being a Hero member of the Gloranthan Trading Association). 

 

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4 minutes ago, Sumath said:

And there's his name, first on the list under Additional Materials. Evidently, my Perception modifier is not what it should be.

And he was the author of the article about the Agimori in Wyrms Footnotes # 12. 

Maybe it would be a good idea to edit the "Queens Heir" back to it´s gloranthan roots and publish it in a glorantha fiction line?

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Glorantha could need an actual novel or two to act as entrypoints. King of Sartar is a fascinating read, but obviously incredibly niche. The Prince of Sartar webcomic is the closest to this atm. I know Greg worked on some stuff - would be a shame to see it never finished. 😕

Problem with working with an ever-evolving world like Glorantha is the fear of publishing something that might become "outdated" a decade or so down the line.

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On 6/2/2019 at 6:58 AM, AndreJarosch said:

And he was the author of the article about the Agimori in Wyrms Footnotes # 12. 

Maybe it would be a good idea to edit the "Queens Heir" back to it´s gloranthan roots and publish it in a glorantha fiction line?

No "maybe" about it!!!

Chaosium -- make it so!

 

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On ‎6‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 2:58 PM, AndreJarosch said:

Maybe it would be a good idea to edit the "Queens Heir" back to it´s gloranthan roots and publish it in a glorantha fiction line?

The only problem is that it's the first of an unfinished trilogy, and the second part is a) not Gloranthan and b) not so good. Queen's Heir has a reasonable amount of character development and dialogue to balance the action sequences. It feels believable and is written adequately. The second novel is written largely in a reported speech style (I did this, then I did this, then she said that and this happened), with very little dialogue and has much flimsier characterisation as a result.

The main character becomes a monotonously successful killing machine, with only superficial exploration of his thoughts or feelings. It also drops the Bronze Age setting part way through (for a full-on medieval jousting tournament), before picking it back up again at the end, albeit with anachronisms (a chainmail coif and hauberk - made out of bronze, perhaps?) thrown in.

My advice: read the first book and then imagine a better sequel yourself.

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