Witch of the Four Winds and Brak the Barbarian will be available in digital format at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com on July 31 for $4.99 each (before discounting).
Brak the Barbarian first appeared in Fantastic magazine in the short story “The Devils in the Walls” (1963). Over the next few years, Jakes produced over a dozen short stories and novellas featuring Brak, that he gradually collected and expanded into five books, published between 1968 and 1980.
Brak the Barbarian contains the 1968 short story collection Brak the Barbarian and the novel Mark of the Demons (1969), plus additional Brak stories and an illustrated biography of Jakes with rare images from the author’s personal collection.
Witch of the Four Winds contains two more early novels: Witch of the Four Winds — originally published under that title in Fantastic magazine in 1963, and then revised and expanded in novel format as Brak the Barbarian Versus the Sorceress (1969) — and When the Idols Walked (Fantastic 1964, expanded and released under the same title in 1978), plus more bonus stories and an illustrated biography.
Jakes’ Brak the Barbarian stories were strongly influenced by Robert E. Howard’s Conan. In the YouTube video Open Road created to promote the launch of the digital editions, Jakes says:
I was directly influenced by Robert Howard, by the fact that there weren’t enough Conan stories to go around… I wanted to create a character much like Conan, put him in similar circumstances, and have a good time writing them.
For science fiction fans, Open Road has also collected two early SF novels by Jakes in a third omnibus collection: On Wheels (1973) and Six-Gun Planet (1970). It’s also available July 31.