Retro Review: Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island

guanyin_cover2Dale Russell has posted a review of my long out of print pirate novel: Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island. Let’s see what he had to say:

The fact that Guan-Yin was a pirate with her own crew and ship was more a product of her determination and loyalty to those who fought with her rather any superior fighting skill or back-stabbing abilities that would normally see a rise to the top on such a determinedly man’s world. But all her victories and successes continued to pale through the veil of loss that she continually faced with the disappearance – and to all intents DEATH – of her father. But she knew he yet lived. It was that belief that was fueled by the offer of the mage M’Baku. Definitely not one to be trusted but perhaps a means to an end as they both had purpose defined by the need to sail to a lost and forbidding destination.

But the horrors waiting there were unlike any they had ever faced and the failure to survive might mean an eternity of servitude to a master neither wanted. Those horrors had to wait their turn though as the creatures who inhabited the island were deadly in their own right and to survive they might have to defeat an animal so powerful as to be considered a god on its own island.

Barry Reese, as the Author of this short 65 page novella, has dipped his metaphorical writing toes into many worlds and genres. But more than any his wheelhouse seems to be in the look and feel of all things pulpish and golden aged stories and film. And this is no exception as Reese gives his readers a short little journey that combines the myth of the Lost Dutchman with the modern day Legend that is a certain gargantuan ‘king’ of the apes who reigns over his cloud-enshrouded hidden island.

Barry has identified his writings in what he calls his ‘Reese Unlimited’ universe. The main characters of which are to be found in his Lazarus Gray and Peregrine (late The Rook) stories but encompass a long line of lead in and supporting stories from centuries long past. In my effort to track down these tales, I was lead to this little adventure. While not necessarily one of Barry’s greatest creations, it was a fun story that should entertain the reader for an hour in a world of pirates, ghosts, lost worlds, and creatures of the dim past and the not so dim flickerings of the cinema.

Reese’s strengths in his world building and character creations are his ability to give us truly atmospheric stories that wrap the reader into a feeling of the world they are traveling through. His characters are either true heroes or dastardly (always wanted to use that word) villains that at times can flip orientation as Reese dives deeper into motivations and emotions.

As for the character of Guan-Yin? Definitely one that I would enjoy seeing in another story or two. Hey…a good pirate tale led by a strong female MC has always been one of my favorites since Belit and a certain young Cimmerian found their paths crossing.

Thanks, Dale! That particular story was written a long time ago and I think it’s kind of attained a bit of status because it’s out of print and because of that awesome Lorenzo Sperlonga cover. I enjoyed writing it and some of the characters have popped up in various places in my universe. There have been a few occasions when I thought about writing a sequel to this story… who knows? Stranger things have happened!

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