Thursday, 31 May 2012

Annotated bibliography of Harold Lamb’s Cossack stories – part 4



Harold Lamb wrote more than forty stories of the Cossack adventurers. Luckily for us, all his stories are back in print, thanks to the efforts of Howard Andrew Jones.

In this bibliography, I want to give a flavor of the stories, the exotic locales and the different people that Khlit and others meet on their adventures, but still keep enough unknown that you’ll want to read them. Let me know if you like this. This is the last post of a four post series.

Swords of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume Four




Story Title
Comments
1.       
The Wolf Master
Khlit, Kirdy and Ayub are riding towards the Zaporogian siech of the Cossacks, where Khlit hopes to present Kirdy to  the Cossacks. They reach a village five miles from where the Cossacks have gone to war, and their horses are exhausted. They cannot find replacements, and encounter Cossacks retreating from the battlefield. The dying commander of the Cossacks makes Khlit swear that the Cossack dead must be avenged on the Cossack traitor, Dmitri the claimant of the Russian throne, before passing the baton of command to Khlit. Kirdy against the Tsar of all the Russias…
2.       
The Outrider
Ayub is without his companions. Khlit has disappeared after Kirdy left on his quest for revenge. Ayub has lost his horse and his sword, and grown older, yet he still seeks adventure. He finds that Polish ambassadors have come to the village, on their way to the court of the Khan of the Krim Tatars, to seek an alliance against the Turks. The military leader of the party, Colonel Duncan Stuart, engages Ayub as a guide. Will the party succeed in their mission?
3.       
Koum
A detachment of Cossacks is going out to build an advance post at the river. They run across Koum, an aging Cossack, who warns them of the Turkomans of the White Clan who raid the area. The Turkoman attack…
4.       
Over the River
A Russian count and his wife on their way to Uralskaia, a frontier post, get separated from their escort, lost in the steppe and come to Koum’s hut. The countess asks him to escort them, but he hears a brother Cossack in distress nearby signaling for help. He leaves them in his home, and goes to rescue the other Cossack, Gurka, who has been captured by the Turkomans …
5.       
The Post in the Steppe
Gurka is waiting for Koum to reappear. Koum has disappeared on one of his regular breaks from the town into the steppe, where he feels more at home. General Lermontof, the Russian commander of the area,  wants them to go and man the frontier outpost at Kurgan and make the area safe for the trade caravans. He does not expect them to succeed and thinks that he is getting rid of them. Two men against the Russian general and the Turkomans…
6.       
The Devil’s Song
Stenka Razin and his pirate band of Cossacks are sailing down the Volga to raid the town of Gorod. He runs across the blind girl, Nada, and her goat Omelko who wants to reach Gorod to be with her lover Petr Noga. As he leaves the girl in town, the Russians try to capture Stenka. At the same time, the Tatars, led by Mirak Khan, the Kalmuk, attack. Caught between two enemies, will the Cossacks live?
7.       
Mark of Astrakhan
Barbakosta, the Cossack stag hunter, finds a cold wet man on the near the Caspian sea, at the edge of the steppe, and gives him shelter. Mark, waiting for Barbakosta to return from the hunt, is set upon by four Nogai Tatars who have come to steal from the hunter. Mark kills two of them, the other two flee, and a blood feud is started. The two friends leave for Astrakhan. Stenka Razin is about to raid Astrakhan, and Mark volunteers to service in its defence. Who wins and who lives?
8.       
Red Hands
Charny the Cossack rides from town on a stolen horse after a night of drinking. He’s pursued by a soldier of the Zarit stanitza, Vash, a former Cossack. Charny and Vash fight, and Charny manages to beat Vash. They decide to go away from Zarit together, and look for someplace else to stay. While looking for food and drink, they run across a band of river pirates and barely escape unhurt. They try to warn a ship of the river pirates waiting further down, but the Russian officers on the ship suspect that they are hand in hand with the pirates, and arrests them….
9.       
Witch Woman
Sergei Stroganoff, the lord of the manor Chusavaya, stays there with the girl Ivga for company. Sergei is gentle and prefers reading books to hunting or trading.  Ivga likes to be read to by Sergei. Timofeimitch Irmak, an outlaw, comes with his band to the manor and takes it over without a fight. Irmak tries to take Ivga as well. Will the worm turn at last?
10.   
Sangar
Chilogir the Tatar encounters Borasun the Cossack, and they fight. Borasun routs Chilogir, who falls in the river and is pulled down by the weight of his armour. Borasun, on an impulse, saves Chilogir’s life. Chilogir takes him home and gives him two reindeer to pull him across the frozen steppe, and a token of safety to protect him from Tatar raiders and calls upon the gods to take the reindeer to his daughter, Chi-li, who has been kidnapped by a Cossack regiment. Borasun takes the reindeer team and heads to Tabagatai, where his regiment has gone. Will Chi-li escape being sold to the Turks?
11.   
The Vampire of Khor
Demid the Cossack, hungry and thirsty, rides into Gorod looking for food and drink. Ostap the sergeant is looking for a man to ride to Khor, a farm near Gorod that is reputedly haunted by a vampire. Demid offers to go in exchange for a jug of brandy, and Ostap takes him to his commanding officer, the starosta Mikhail. Mikhail offers Demid forty silver coins if he can find evidence of thievery or murder at Khor. Demid rides to Khor, and finds the vampire…
12.   
Singing Girl
Arky and Kalyan, two Cossacks, are hunting for two missing Muscovite merchants who had been seen on the trail, but not reached their destination, Sarai. They find the merchants’ sledge, abandoned, and track the merchants till a wood, where they find the tracks of giant wolf behind the merchants’ tracks. They find a house in the wood, where the girl Sana and Sergey Okol live. Sergey warns the Cossacks of the legend of the monster of the wood, and says that even the Kalmuk Tatars avoid the wood because of the monster. Staying in the house for the night, the Cossacks come to suspect that Sergey Okol must be a werewolf. They come out of their room to find Sergey missing from the house, and a wolf is howling outside…
13.   
The Moon of Shawwul
Kirdyaga, the Cossack colonel, has been captured by the Turks and will die unless a ransom of three thousand gold sequins is paid in Constantinople by the first night of the moon  of Shawwul. Charnomar the Cossack, is requested by the Cossack colonel to deliver the ransom. He agrees and enters Stamboul disguised as a Circassian mountain man, and immediately gets into a fight with a couple of Turkish Janissaries. Running away from them, he finds refuge for the night with a bayadere, a dancing girl, who takes him for a fellow Circassian. Charnomar is on the run, a hunted man in an foreign city, and cannot ask anyone for help – how will he complete his mission?
14.   
Cossack Wolf
Yarak the Cossack has promised his grandson Kirdy, the guerilla, that he will watch over the girl Ileana, while Kirdy has to stay away from the town. The Germans come into the town and capture Kirdy, and Yarak must free him…
15.   
The Stone Woman
Yarak is heading towards the Dneiper river on foot, lacking a horse. He is looking for a drink in a ruined village when a German armored patrol car unit comes into the village and captures him. He warns them of the stone women who haunt the area…
16.   
City Under the Sea
Yarak has taken Betty, a British nurse, down to the sea, where she wanted to go. He reaches the sea to find that Germans are patrolling the area, and does not know what to do with her. He finds another foreigner, Jan, and hands her over to him. When a German submarine comes ashore, will they be caught?
17.   
The Two Swords of Genghis Khan
Yarak tries to sell an old yataghan sword to American soldiers. The Americans are lost and trying to find a route to the nearest airfield, Luntai, where they were headed before their plane had to make an emergency landing. Yarak knows nothing of Luntai, but sees that the Americans have liquor. He offers to guide the Americans across the mountains…
18.   
The Phantom Caravan
Yarak has come to Samarkand, looking for drink and comrades. He finds the girl Praska in the old city, who suggests that he exchange his goods for money in the new city. Yarak goes to the new city and is forced to exchange his goods for worthless Syrian paper money instead of the gold he wants.  Having lost everything, he goes back to Praska to berate her. Praska’s boyfriend, Michael, has just been invalided home from the army. They find the museum has been looted, by the same traders that cheated Yarak, and Praska goads Michael to get the museum pieces back…
19.   
Wolf-Hounds of the Steppe
Paul Ostalim, the Cossack blacksmith, shoes a horse for the carriage of Mirovna Cherevaty, the ataman’s daughter, but not before Stepan Vertivitch, her companion, has picked a quarrel with Paul. Mirovna invites Paul to her father’s home for a feast the same night. Paul goes there and offers to join the ataman’s kuren, but is rejected, in no small part due to Stepan’s intervention. Another Cossack, Rashov, leaves the kuren and becomes Paul’s friend and comrade as Paul leaves to join another kuren.
The Tatars plan to attack the villages near the siech, lure the Cossacks out, and rob the Cossacks’ buried war treasure. Paul learns this from a Cossack slave of the Tatars that he rescues on the way, and he hurries to tell the siech of the Tatars’ plans. He is disbelieved, and the ataman orders him arrested. Things aren’t going well for Paul – how will he show his mettle to the Cossacks, save the treasure of the Cossacks, win the hand of Mirovna and show up the arrogant Stepan?



2 comments:

  1. We live in the golden age of pulp reprints. Without this series of thick paperbacks reprinting the fiction of Harold Lamb, many of his stories would remain buried in the back issues of the pulps.

    I spent many years at some expense locating the back issues of ADVENTURE for instance but now readers can go to amazon.com and buy the Lamb collections for a few dollars.

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    1. This series of books is what started me on my pulp adventures.

      I read about this in an article somewhere, got curious and read a couple of stories and was hooked. When i ran through the 8 volumes of the complete works of Harold Lamb, i started looking for more. And that's where i learned about Adventure and started collecting it and some other pulps.

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