About twenty years ago, I was at a used bookstore and I picked up what looked like an interesting medieval spin on James Bond. It was set during the period of the Crusades, but appeared to be conceived as an action-thriller series rather like The Executioner, Mack Bolan. I started reading it, but around page 30, when the slave girl sent by Saladin to spy on the Crusaders was in full throat enjoying her third rape at the hands of her captors, I suddenly realized that the book was not a historical novel but rather one of those strange 70’s porn novels with a thin veneer of historical fiction. A little research indicates that the book was probably the fifth book in the Crusader series, Saladin’s Spy (1986), written by an author very familiar to Black Gate readers, although he published it under the pen name “John Cleve” rather than Andrew J. Offutt. I hadn’t thought about that book for years, until I was casting about for a way to explain the epic fantasy of R. Scott Bakker’s series entitled The Prince of Nothing.
Read the rest at the Black Gate.