David C. Smith’s 1978 sword & sorcery novel Oron is a classic of the genre. Its success led to four sequels: The Sorcerer’s Shadow (1978), Mosutha’s Magic (1982), The Valley of Ogrum (1982), and the collection The Ghost Army (1983). David’s new short story collection, The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories, includes the first new Oron story in 30 years, “The Shadow of Dia-Sust,” in which the young barbarian helps a dying witch exact an overdue revenge; and takes the first steps on the path that will lead him to the events of Oron. David has graciously offered the complete story to us at Black Gate, as well as an Author’s Note explaining how the story came about. Here’s a brief snippet:
In late 2011, I was invited by Bob Price to write a new story featuring my character Oron as part of a planned anthology of sword-and-sorcery stories. A number of other authors who had written S&S back in the Silver Age of the 1970s and early 1980s were invited, as well — Ted C. Rypel and Adrian Cole and, I think, Keith Taylor, along with others. This would have been an exceptional showcase of talent… however, commercial publishing in the mid 1980s rerouted the fantasy genre away from mythic adventure stories…
“The Shadow of Dia-Sust” chronologically follows the five adventures presented in my 1983 collection Death in Asakad and Other Stories (published under the title The Ghost Army). With this one, I do my best to demonstrate that sword-and-sorcery fiction can be taken seriously — by its writers and by its readers — as a literary (or at least thoughtful) form of mainstream genre storytelling.
We’ve published David C. Smith’s fiction and non-fiction here at Black Gate — including excerpts from his noir thriller Dark Muse and his supernatural pirate dark fantasy novel Waters of Darkness, written in collaboration with Joe Bonadonna.
The complete catalog of Black Gate Online Fiction, including stories by Vaughn Heppner, Howard Andrew Jones, David Evan Harris, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, John C. Hocking, Michael Shea, Peadar Ó Guilín, Aaron Bradford Starr, Martha Wells, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, C.S.E. Cooney, and many others, is here.
“The Shadow of Dia-Sust” is a complete 14,000-word short story of heroic fantasy offered at no cost.