(Published on Tuesday, June 26, 2012)
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, E-Reads announced that the 31st volume of John Normans Gor series, Conspirators of Gor, which was originally scheduled for December 2012, would be released 6 month earlier, in July, 2012. Together with the announcement, E-Reads published a special introduction writen by John Norman (John Norman Previews Conspirators (Gor #31), Coming in July). A small general preview was released under a Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) license, for fan sites, chat channels, and Second Life; which was published, amoung others, by The Lara Inn Organization. Yesterday, the Chronicles of Gor website published an exclusive preview.
Today, The Complete John Norman gives you all the background information, and another exclusive preview.
Conspirators of Gor contains 53 chapters and is about 10% longer than its predecessor, Mariners of Gor, and so it will probably contain about 650 pages. The printed version can be traced using the EAN 9781617567315, for the e-book version one should use 9781617567322. We believe that the e-book version will become available during the first week of July, followed, during the next two weeks, by the printed version.
The story itself, placed in Ar around the same timespan as Mariners of Gor, and described through the eyes of a young woman whose name was once Allison Ashton-Baker, sheds more light on the ungoing secret war between the monstrous Kurii, and the mysterious Priest-Kings; a war that will eventually decide the fate and future of both Earth and her sister, Antichthon, or Counter-Earth, better known as Gor.
For what had I been purchased? For the mills, or the mines, for work at the carnariums, the filth pits, for work in the sewers, in the tharlarion stables, at the tarsk pens? I did not know.
Clearly I would now be of little interest in the taverns, in the brothels, in the gambling houses, even in the towers, or inns. Who now would want the former Allison Ashton-Baker? Not even the boys I used to torment!
I heard then a cry of alarm from the street.
I jerked against the chain, startled, and nearly rose to my feet, but then swiftly resumed my kneeling position. I was a slave. No free person had given me permission to rise.
We are on our knees as easily, and naturally, and as appropriately, as the free person is on his feet, or sits on his bench or chair, or reclines, at ease, on his supper couch.
Two or three men, from the market, who had been loitering outside, in the warm night, backed through the door, warily.
Something very large, and bent over, boulder-like, was in the doorway. It was huge, the form muchly concealed within the ample, thick, sheet-like, hooded cloak it wore.
The hood moved, from side to side, and I sensed that something deep within the hood was considering the room.
"Away!" cried one of the men.
I then heard a noise, a sort of noise, which, this first time I heard it, dismayed and terrified me. It was a noise such as one might expect from some large, wary, suspicious, predatory, carnivorous beast. It was clearly bestial. But, strangely, it seemed no ordinary noise, some sort of signal, or a revelation of a mood, but a subtly articulated stream of sound, and scarcely had it ceased than I heard Gorean, the words clearly sounded, but oddly spaced, produced, apparently, by means of some sort of device, some sort of machine or contrivance.
"Do not be afraid," it said. "I bear no weapons. I mean you no harm. I come in peace. I come in the name of the Lady Bina, that I might claim on her behalf a female slave."
"Who are you?" said a man.
"What are you?" said another.
"Are you human?" asked another.
"VVhat is human?" rejoined the mechanical voice. "A mind, a shape, a form?
Are you human?"
"It is a beast," said another. "They are dangerous. They are hunted. They lurk in wildernesses. Some are north, in Torvaldsland."
"I come on behalf of Lady Bina, to claim a slave," said the voice.
"We await another," said a man, he who had bargained unsuccessfully with the lovely Lady Bina, "her agent."
"I am he," said the voice.
"How do we know that?" asked a man.
"I come in her name," said the voice.
I knelt, chained in place, in terror. I do not think I could have spoken, had I wished to do so.
"What is the name of the slave?" asked the fellow who had dealt with the Lady Bina.
"My translator," said the voice, "does not carry the name."
"Translator?" said a fellow, puzzled.
"The speaking thing," said another.
"Then," said the man who had sold me, "you cannot have her."
At this point a sound came from within that enormous, cloaked, hooded figure which was not translated, but its menace was clear, and the men moved further back.
I found my voice, to scream, and hide my head.
A hairy, large, paw-like thing had come from under the cloak and brushed back the hood, revealing a broad, furred head, perhaps a foot in width, with large eyes. The ears, large and pointed, moved back, gently, against the sides of the head. The mouth opened, enough to see the movement of a large, restless tongue, and afford a glimpse of thick, spike-like, moist, curved fangs.
I had the sense that those massive jaws might have been capable of biting through a beam, and could easily, like tearing paper, snap away a manÆs head, or womanÆs.
The beast approached me, the cloak dragging behind it. I could now see its furred chest, and could see, against the chest, the small device, the translator, which was slung about its neck. One massive paw reached toward me.
"Do not!" said the leader of the men, he who had dealt with the Lady Bina.
"She is chained! You would tear her foot off!"
The beast reached to the chain that fastened me to the ring, and wrenched it from the floor, with a splintering of wood.
"Stop!" said the leader.
The beast turned and looked at him.
I would not care to have such a thing so look at me.
"I will unchain her!" he said.
"The slave is female," came from the translator, mechanically, unemotionally, a placidity quite at odds with the roiling, tensed power that seemed to rise now like lava within that immense, living frame, "the price was twenty tarsks, and the buyer is by name Bina, and by title, the Lady Bina."
"I will unchain her," said the man. "Forgive us. We wished to be sure of matters. Our mistake is natural. We were not warned, or sufficiently warned. We did not expect an agent such as yourself, noble Master." I did not think the beast was flattered.
He seemed to be measuring the distance between himself and the rear entrance, leading to the cage area. The ears were lifted. I heard nothing. There was moisture about its jaws and the fangs were wet with saliva. Words came again from the translator.
"Tell them not to use their bows," it said. "Before they could appear in the portal, I could strike away your head."
"I do not understand," said the man, disconcerted.
"Tell them to put their bows down, in the portal, where I can see them."
The man turned about. "Is anyone there?" he called.
"Now," came from the translator.
"There is no one there," said the man.
"Now," repeated the translator.
"There is no one there," said the man.
"Do you wish to live?" came from the translator.
"Do it, do it," said the man, "put your bows down, in the portal."
Two fellows, whom I recognized from the market, then appeared in the portal, and placed crossbows on the floor.
I had heard nothing, nor, apparently, had the others in the room, only the beast.
Could one hear a step so soft, the drawing of a cable, the laying of a quarrel in the guide?
"You will live," came from the translator.
A key was thrust into the lock on my manacle, and it was turned, moving the bolt, after which the sides of the device was opened, on their hinge.
The sheet was removed from me and I was put to my belly before the beast. I scarcely dared raise my head.
I saw heavy, furred, clawed feet before me.
"Your principal," said the man, rising to his feet, "made an excellent buy. She is a beauty. But perhaps you cannot see that, as you are different."
The large head lifted and regarded him. "I can see that," it said.
"There is an additional charge, of ten tarsks," said the man.
"Perhaps, after all," came from the translator, "you do not wish to live."
"It will be waived, of course," said the man.
The beast then, bent over, wary, began to back toward the street. It paused in the portal. "Come with me," came from the translator.
I saw the large eyes on me.
"What would such a thing want of a slave?" asked one of the men.
"Food?" suggested another.
I screamed in terror, sprang to my feet, and tried to run back toward the cages, but had moved not a step or two before I was caught in the rear portal by one of the fellows there, and held. I struggled, wildly, but my strength was no more than that of a child in his arms. I began to shudder. I turned to look at the beast, saw the eyes and fangs, screamed again, and lost consciousness.
Copyright 2012 by John Norman, published with kind permission of E-Reads.