Velan the Reticent

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Barbarian adventures through ancient lands with lots of blood and guts and monsters and blood and swords and magic and oomph.
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Velan the Reticent

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Barbarian adventures through ancient lands with lots of blood and guts and monsters and blood and swords and magic and oomph.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461104193
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 4/18/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

James L. Grant is best known as a guy who draws cats and bad things. His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales Magazine, Bloodlust UK,, and various other strange places. His first novel, Pedestrian Wolves, was sold to Wildside Press in 2004. After that came On The Banks Of Lethe, on Stonegarden Books, and everything's just gone downhill in the world ever since. James lives in Dallas, TX, with his wife and co-creator, Mel Hynes, with his daughter and three whiny cats.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2011

    A must read!

    I couldn't put the book down till the flip of the last page. That's saying a lot considering THIS reader has a serious case of ADD. Can't wait for the next adventure...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    A good story that's also wicked funny.

    James L Grant set out to create an amusing riff on the Robert E Howard "Conan" mythos. Most such efforts are far too heavy on the anachronistic references and too thin on characterization and story, but Grant has kept storytelling at the forefront in "Velan." This is more of a loving homage blended with tongue-in-cheek humor than it is some kind of cheap parody. The adventure is fun to read, the characters are heroic yet grounded in a believable kind of reality, and the setting is treated with all of the respect it deserves. That is to say, the adventure story tropes are properly held up to the light and then bent in just the right way to make it all... work. Grant knows when to revel in the absurdity and when to turn it on its ear. Most importantly, I reached the final page and wished I could phone the author and demand the next installment, immediately. But he'd probably stomp my toes with his boots if I did. So I'll wait. Impatiently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    Really funny parody is an engrossing story in its own right

    "You have been warned", reads one of the blerbs.

    It's a good warning, because Velan the Reticent is addictive.
    Good thing it's short enough to be called a novella. Its length, or rather the lack thereof, might reduce your chances of getting caught reading it when you're supposed to be working.

    Only, you will be caught. For one thing, you're going to be noticed when you try (probably unsucessfuly) to choke back an ambush of your own laughter. Repeatedly.
    Or, when you have to clean the keyboard on which you just snorted a noseful of coffee.

    If you ever loved "Barbarian" sword & sorcery, whether as a full-on fan or as someone sneaking a guilty pleasure, Velan will satisfy.
    If you ever thought Howard's Conan series could have been better written, or privately found aspects of his writing a bit will find vindication in Velan the Reticent.

    This book is a parody, it's satire, it's full of snark. BUT it's also an homage, being a damned good Conan-esque tale in its own right.

    Yeah, I loved it; can you tell?
    There's one part in particular, in the middle, where I literally about fell out of my chair. I won't tell you which; you'll know when you come to it.

    Enough already; go buy this thing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Good even if you're not a fan of the genre being sent up

    Barbarian sword-and-sorcery books have never been of great interest to me. It's one of those genres, like military science fiction, high fantasy, and paranormal romance, where I can see where there are elements that other people might be drawn to (and are, in great numbers) without being drawn to those elements myself. So I came to Velan the Reticent, a novella suggesting a send-up of works such as Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, I was not entirely sure it would work for me. Parodies I like; parodies of things I've never seen or read, less so.

    Fortunately, James L. Grant has wrote a book that is both funny and entertaining regardless of how much or little one knows about the genre. He does it the old-fashioned way - by creating real, complete characters who deal with the strange situations they face (scavenging warbirds, scheming townspeople, hidden temples) in realistic (for the genre) ways. The humor flows from the characters and their situations, rather than any forced wordplay, joking, or overt silliness, and is all the more effective for it. While I suspect there are depths I missed due to unfamiliarity with the genre, I nevertheless thorougly enjoyed the book and look forward to Velan's return.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Read it, you'll like it

    A great warrior begrudgingly becomes a mentor. A blossoming warrior finds out that learning is necessarily painful. Velan is a very entertaining and amusing tale of adventure, camaraderie, and booty. I can't wait to see what new lessons will be learned in the sequel(s).

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    Velan draws you in, and doesn't let you go quietly...

    The titular character of "Velan," while the driving force behind the book's main action, takes a back seat to the other two main characters in the book, Tygus, a farmboy turned revenge-seeker, and the Scarlet Retalia, a buxom mercenary who could easily take Red Sonja in hand to hand combat.

    This novella has two extremely well executed facets. First, it is a coming of age story that follows Tygus in his quest to revenge his town, which was massacred by a rampaging horde. Seemingly hopeless at first, Tygus soon shows his reticent mentor, Velan, that he has a lot of hidden potential. Often bemused and confounded by the world outside his now-smoldering village, Tygus provides the reader with a front row seat to some of the most realistic (well, as realistic as fighting ruby-eyed scorpions can be) action scenes you'll read.

    Second, this novella is a tongue in cheek homage to famed action heroes such as Conan the Barbarian and the aforementioned Red Sonja. We learn, for example, that having long, flowing hair isn't always the most practical hairstyle for a female mercenary, that honor is NOT the better part of valor, the life of a mercenary (aka "hero") is brutish, short, and likely to end badly, and that scavenging Warbirds can be very, very patient.

    This novella is not perfect, however.

    For one thing, it is too short. It promises us sequels, however, which will hopefully explore the character of Velan more fully. He remains shrouded in mystique (perhaps by his own design) for most of the novel.

    A few passages are confusing, and require re-reading, but all in all, a very clever, very funny book that will leave you wanting more.

    If you like books such as the Discworld novels, that simultaneous pay homage to and make fun of the fantasy/action/sci fi genre, this is right up your alley.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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