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Wolf of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume One Paperback – Jul 1 2006

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • Wolf of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume One
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 606 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; 1 edition (July 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803280483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803280489
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #764,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“All ten of the stories are entertaining, highly imaginative, excellently edited and presented.”—Paradox

“They are tales of wild adventure, full of swordplay, plots, treachery, startling surprises, mayhem, and massacre, laid in the most exotic setting that one can imagine and still stay in a known historical period on this planet.”—L. Sprague de Camp
(L. Sprague de Camp)

“One of the finest adventure fiction writers of the twentieth century.”—Robert Weinberg
(Robert Weinberg)

“Lamb knew how to write straight-ahead adventure the way Michelangelo knew how to paint.”—S. M. Stirling
(S. M. Stirling)

About the Author

Harold Lamb (1892–1962), who wrote biographies and screenplays as well as historical fiction, is best remembered today for his tales of Cossacks and Crusaders. Howard Andrew Jones is the editor in chief of the online journal Sword and Sorcery and of the e-zine Flashing Swords. S. M. Stirling is the author of many works of science fiction and alternate history, including the acclaimed Draka series and Dies the Fire.

Inside This Book

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When the noonday sun struck through clouds and fell upon the saber on his knee, Khlit made up his mind it was time to eat. Read the first page
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By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Aug. 31 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across this book because Howard Lamb was an inspiration to my favorite author, Robert E. Howard. In particular, Lamb inspired Howard's oriental and crusader medieval historical fiction. So I was very curious to read the original inspiration. The book contains roughly a dozen stories, 600 pages worth, of Khlit the Cossack. Unlike many action heroes, Khlit is almost elderly, and generally relies more on his wit than his sword-arm (although he does fight now and again). The stories follow a general template. Khlit wanders to some new, hostile group, gets thorough embroiled with them (with good to bad results), and comes out OK at the end due to some clever scheme he hatched prior to getting embroiled. The revelation of these schemes and how they save Khlit provides the real punch for the stories. The stories take place in the late 16th, early 17th century and are set throughout Asia, including Russia, Mongolia, China, India, and other places. This does provide a refreshing change of scenery between the stories. Also, Lamb is not hesitant to remove key supporting cast members, violently or not, which makes the stories a little less predictable. However, predictability remains a flaw, especially as one reads more of the stories. You generally know some earlier scheme is going to save Khlit and (some of) his allies. Then Khlit will split and find some new group of enemies to infiltrate and pull one over on.

But my biggest reservation is that the action is relatively limited, and compared to REH's extremely vivid combat scenes these stories seem very flat. Lamb was, later in life, a respected historian. His stories read more like interesting histories than the wild and adventurous tales that REH spun. I suppose it's a matter of taste which one is preferable, but for me, I would have liked a little more spice in these stories. As they stand, they're a fun read, but nothing overly memorable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa587d66c) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa58b80cc) out of 5 stars Still very, very good. Sept. 26 2006
By E. M. Harvey - Published on
Format: Paperback
I bought this book (and the companion volume) after reading some of Lamb's work in the 'Flashing Swords' ezine and anthology from Pitch-Black Press (Sages and Swords). I'd never heard of Lamb before--and now I've read his work, I'm stumped if I know why that is. Everything that's good about adventure fiction is in this book: strong and cunning protagonists, treacherous villains, and exotic locales, and all written in a clean and fast-paced prose style I wish I could emulate.

I read the whole thing in a week, then read the other volume straight after. When I finished, I went back and read them again.

My only caveat about the books has nothing to do with the stories, but the covers. The stock used for the covers is a little thin, and it warps badly if it gets damp. If you do buy a copy (and you should), then keep the cover away from water, otherwise it will curl and start to come apart.

If you're at all interested in adventure fiction, you should buy this book and any others by Lamb you can. Really, they're very, very good.

[This is the same review I wrote for the other of the two books currently available--but I read them both at the same time, and I have the same comments about both, so ...)
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa58b84d4) out of 5 stars Here is a character to ride with Taras Bulba! Aug. 15 2006
By Nautilus - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a real pleasure to see these grand, rich, and full blooded adventure tales return to print. Many of Harold Lamb's Cossack tales have been unavailable for decades. Now they are, and shall be, collected into book form in reading order. But don't let that stop you from skipping around. These tales are readable in any order.

Harold Lamb begain his writing carreer with fiction before moving to his famous biographies and historical narratives. Among those tales are those of Khlit the Cossack. Here is a character to ride with Taras Bulba and cut from the same cloth. Originally published in the early pulps, a handful of these tales appeared in later, and now sometimes hard to find anthologies. This book is the first of a projected four volumes of ALL the collected Cossack tales of Harold Lamb.

These are pure adventure stories with no -isms or political agendas, no techincal inovations to save the day or clutter the landscape. These tales are well written by a fellow who did his homework. These are thrills made plausible with plain writing.

Battle, plots, sudden action, and epic scope crowd the pages. You are caught up in some of the finest writing right from the pages of historical action and romance, among the best of the pulp writers. Khlit, the Wolf of the Steppes, and a load of colorful characters, both friend and enemy, all come intensely alive with quickly moving drama involving war and peace, loyalty, intrigue, sometimes grim humor, fear, and all as told with supurb dash and writing as only from the pen of Harold Lamb.

There is neven an idle moment and as always, Mr. Lamb had a real talent for writing well and above all, he keeps the reader entertained. Thank you Mr. Howard Jones and those folks at Bison Books for reprinting this wonderful series.

M. Clagett
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa58b82dc) out of 5 stars Another biased though heart-felt review Jan. 13 2007
By Witold Dreger - Published on
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you've hunted for Harold Lamb's stories dispersed in old and rare magazines and books long out of print and despaired that you would ever have them all - you will be grateful to Howard Jones for collecting and editing them. I am, even more so because I got to know Howard towards the end of this enterprise and got a glimpse of how huge and intricate his job was.

If you've ever dreamed of adventures in a world younger than ours, where bravery and cunning count for something and danger or treasure could wait around the next bend of the road - these stories are for you.

If you've ever wished for tales that would let you breathe the sharp air of the Hindukush range, feel the burning sun of the deserts, taste the dust of the steppes, see the Cossacks or nomads quarrel, fight and revel - these stories are certainly for you.

Get all four volumes and ride with Khlit, a cunning old Cossack retired from the Sietch, who keeps looking for adventures, alone or with a few companions, in lands where if your hosts regret your parting you never know whether they found your company good or whether they regret they did not have enough time to rob you.

Read these stories, enjoy them and tell your friends!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa58b88dc) out of 5 stars The Wolf's Tales Unearthed Nov. 12 2006
By J. V. Heiningen - Published on
Format: Paperback
For those interested in historical adventure there is probably no better choice than to pick up this volume and read the epic story of a lone, wily cossack, who leaves his clan and sets about adventuring across Asia. Not only is the volume a bargain - you would be lucky to find a sole story in the original magazine version at the price of the whole volume - it is entertainment pur sang,from the first page to the last. While Lamb gives us great descriptions of battle- and actionscenes, in the end his heroes win by their wits and not by their swords. This gives every storyending the unique "Lamb-twist" In addition the backgrounds and details of the stories are all historically accurate - which does not detract at all from the enjoyment! If you like to have your imagination stimulated by adventures in far lands and other days, this is the book for you!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa58b8948) out of 5 stars Biased review Nov. 2 2006
By Storn A. Cook - Published on
Format: Paperback
For honest disclosure, the editor, Howard Andrew Jones, is a friend and colleague.

But that won't stop me from saying "wow". The first tale of Khlit starts off the character at the very audacious age of 50-ish. And Khlit ages as the series goes on. To have this wiley old man have to think his way through the traps and conflicts that beset him and not just rely on sword and brawn, is just so damn cool.

Others have noted how modern Harold Lamb writes. I concur. His prose is evocative without being overly flowery. He sketches a world that is deep and dangerous, but never gets in the way of the story.

And Lamb's exploration of cultures and religions of this region, well, I think that Khlit and Lamb expose us to some very thought provoking situations that pertain to our world, NOW. After all, this is the world of Turkey to China. I think there are some events happening in that area these days that are of import. I'm not saying that this is a history lesson in these pages....but history and culture are nonetheless taught as we follow the wandering Cossack.