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War Lord

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The new Hellblazer novel War Lord dropped through my door today (several days before I thought it was due to be published). I was lucky enough to get it from one of Amazon's marketplace sellers who specialise in unusual and imported books....

warlord.jpg

 

 

And guess what... the Forum gets an acknowledgement (I hope the mad STH girls will forgive Mr. Shirley's oversight though ;) )

ackn.jpg

 

Don't hold your breath for a review though I'm only half way through House of Leaves and, utterly gripping though that is, I seem to be permanently knackered these days and tend to fall asleep with worringly middle-age vigour when I try to read before I go to bed (I woke up cuddling the book this morning!) So it may be a couple of weeks before I start this one... so I'll put it on my bedside table and enjoy the anticipation :biggrin:

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It has a publication date of 31st January - no UK release as far as I know though, so however long imports take I guess.

 

I'm guessing it'll just be the bigger comic shops that get imported copies in, as opposed to Waterstones and Borders, etc.

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Very nice of him .... but well, stands to reason --- the people who gave John S tads of info were you blokes...

 

but he could have ... oh well, i wonder when it gets here, probably midyear unless .... i can wangle a copy from a friend who's flying here from NY...

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I picked the book up today and read it in one sitting. I'll try not to give anything away.

 

It's the Constantine of the comics but it's John Shirley's Constantine as expected, although Shirley goes well out of the way to mention events and characters from the entire history of Hellblazer. (Perhaps a little too much IMHO) But he does add his own take on the whole 'Constantine history' thing.

 

But overall this is an quick moving supernatural thriller with John Constantine in an almost action hero mode. The last few chapters read almost like a James Bond or Indiana Jones script complete with the villians explaining their evil plans. You can hear the German baddie draw out his 'Mistah Constantinnne' in stereotypical fashion.

 

It's not a typical Hellblazer story turned prose. It's a self-contained novel with sex, humour, explosions, outlandish villians, a lot of supporting characters, magic, and plenty of exotic locations. In fact it felt more like a movie than the actual movie adaptation.

 

I'm not knocking it by any means. It's just different than what a typical Hellblazer reader might expect and I think that's a good thing for a character who's in danger of calcifying a bit. I'll be interested in hearing what others have to say about it....

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I picked the book up today and read it in one sitting.  I'll try not to give anything away.

 

It's the Constantine of the comics but it's John Shirley's Constantine as expected, although Shirley goes well out of the way to mention events and characters from the entire history of Hellblazer. (Perhaps a little too much IMHO)  But he does add his own take on the whole 'Constantine history' thing.

 

But overall this is an quick moving supernatural thriller with John Constantine in an almost action hero mode.  The last few chapters read almost like a James Bond or Indiana Jones script complete with the villians explaining their evil plans.  You can hear the German baddie draw out his 'Mistah Constantinnne' in stereotypical fashion.

 

It's not a typical Hellblazer story turned prose.  It's a self-contained novel with sex, humour, explosions, outlandish villians, a lot of supporting characters, magic, and plenty of exotic locations.  In fact it felt more like a movie than the actual movie adaptation.

 

I'm not knocking it by any means.  It's just different than what a typical Hellblazer reader might expect and I think that's a good thing for a character who's in danger of calcifying a bit.  I'll be interested in hearing what others have to say about it....

 

This is Exactly what I expected. I didnt think for a second that we'd get some layered tale with subtle occult undertones and complex characterization. So I think Andy's initial review is the one that most of us are going to come up with to some extent or other. Its the typical spinoff paperback - no offense to Mr Shirley, its not meant as a criticism. I've read and enjoyed my share of light, beach reading spinoff novels. This one has all the makings of a good one.

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Available through Amazon UK too.

 

It's not a typical Hellblazer story turned prose.  It's a self-contained novel with sex, humour, explosions, outlandish villians, a lot of supporting characters, magic, and plenty of exotic locations.

 

That probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who's read John Shirley's quirky Demons!

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Yeah there's a decent amout of humo(u)r in the book. Much of it is Constantine playing the straight man to a surfer dude inhabiting the body of a old Iranian guy...hilarity ensues. :D

 

The reference to the movie stayed in with Constantine talking about an alternate universe verson of himself who is a black-haired American..."he's me but not me. I sure as bleedin' hell don't want to be him."

 

The "You're telling me I'm some kind of urban myth in California?" line made me smile as well.

 

Some might think the jokes get a little too slapstick but it doesn't quite veer into Roger Moore-type parody. As someone who has thought that Hellblazer has been lacking in the black humor department as of late, I actually welcomed the tone of the book. That's not to say I want John Constantine to turn into a mystical version of Krammer or anything.

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The new Hellblazer novel War Lord dropped through my door today (several days before I thought it was due to be published). I was lucky enough to get it from one of Amazon's marketplace sellers who specialise in unusual and imported books....

warlord.jpg

 

 

And guess what... the Forum gets an acknowledgement (I hope the mad STH girls will forgive Mr. Shirley's oversight though ;) )

ackn.jpg

 

Don't hold your breath for a review though I'm only half way through House of Leaves and, utterly gripping though that is, I seem to be permanently knackered these days and tend to fall asleep with worringly middle-age vigour when I try to read before I go to bed (I woke up cuddling the book this morning!) So it may be a couple of weeks before I start this one... so I'll put it on my bedside table and enjoy the anticipation :biggrin:

 

 

Bad. Ass.

 

(Oh, and I've gotten what I think is halfway through house of Leaves (If you're reading it, you know what I mean) but I had to stop to read other things for some reviews I had to write. I'm going to start it again soon, though.)

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I should remind anyone that John Shirley made a silk purse out of the Constanteen adaptation. I am looking forward to reading this (and probably gazing upon the full size print of the cover art print sent to me by that the nice chap who makes covers for the Hellblazer books.

 

That excerpt has definitely got me even more interested, with only a few comments about the slang:

 

"Must've gotten pissed, blacked out...must've been one fuck-all of a piss-up..."

fuck-all means nothing. That is to say "George Bush has fuck-all upstairs" means he has no brains.

 

Chas's first words are a bit stodgy, he's Sarf Landan not East End.

 

"Unless you gits are playing at a snub. What'd I do, mate, get on a piss-up and summon your mum back from Hell?"

Playing at a snub isn't right, and it'd be "go on a piss-up" I reckons.

 

On the other hand "frock boutique" works well as the sort of knowing retro speak that we all do down here in the Dickensian Smoke. And the ambience of the pub is conjured quite well.

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I don't mind admitting that I dropped maybe a little too much cash on delivery to make sure that I got Warlord delivered to my gaff next week.

 

Too make sure that I could live with the cash outlay, I threw in a few books about Oracle 10g and a copy of David Gemmel's Silver Bow.

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Mr. Shirley, if you read this thread:

Any plans to release this book (or the earlier movie adaptation) in german-speaking countries, maybe in german (though English would be also okay?)

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Mr. Shirley, if you read this thread:

Any plans to release this book (or the earlier movie adaptation) in german-speaking countries, maybe in german (though English would be also okay?)

 

Uhm.... you can usually buy English books in German-speaking countries. If you know the title and author you can have any bookshop order them for you, even if you don't happen to live in a city big enough to have an actual English bookshop. Amazon.de also has English books - pretty much anything that's available in America or the UK, as far as I know. That's where I get most of my English reading matter, though before the days of the internet I used to go the old-fashioned way of having my local bookshop order it for me.

 

As for a German-language release, I think you would have to address that question to Schreiber & Leser, Hellblazer's German publisher.

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I know, but my question was kind of other nature ;)

(I experienced that he Movie Adaptation was available for a short time in some English book-shops in Vienna)

 

Do you really think SCHuL is also responsible for HB-books?

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Does anyone, anywhere have any more chapters available?

I'll have to read more, before i make up my mind.

 

nothing on-line that I know. Here's a sample paragraph:

 

"John...You know some damn secrets, for sure."

 

Constantine shrugged. "When you're a mortal, there's always more to know. A man lives all his life in, say, a little place like Fiji; some ways he's not sophistatred is he? Now I'm like a man who left the island of Fiji and saw some of the USA and China and Japan and maybe Holland. And I know how to use a tram schedule in Holland and the folks back home don't...Doesn't mean I quaff my pints with the prime ministers of the world. Doesn't mean I know anything about why we're all here in this life. I just know a little more than the other chaps in Fiji, is all. If you take my meaning."

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Hey y'all. Decided to delurk and say what I gots to say 'bout 'War Lord'. And I did like it meself. Of course the timeline part had me confused since this seems to take place before his kids went on their rampage. But not that I mind..... And I hope the other Hellblazer novels are as good when they come out, it not better.

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If one needs to fit the novel into Constantine's timeline, then it's definitely after Mike's run. There's a reference to the events of "Staring at the Wall'... so probably between Carey and Mina or perhaps even post-Mina. The events depicted in the novel are clearly 2005-2006 though there's a mention of the big tsunami "a couple years ago". Although I've yet to hear about any unrest on the Island nation of Carthaga in the papers. :icon_rolleyes:

 

I pesonally don't need the books to exist in a specific timeframe but with all the mentioning of real-life current events and past events of the comic book it's pretty obvious that the book is meant to take place 'in the moment'.

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"Although I've yet to hear about any unrest on the Island nation of Carthaga in the papers. "

You missed that, eh? Big deal in Michigan as we get all of our paper supplies from there. Bloody awful mess!

 

Anyway, I thought this novel wasn't canonical with the "Hellblazer" comic book? So, is this meant to actually be the J.C. from the "Hellblazer" comic?

 

I like the quote Andy posted from the book though. Sounds just like our John, only more Americanized in speech patterns.

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I'm seeing that. I covers Carey's run pretty well. But no mention of the events of when Nergal returned and Cherly died. So yeah...it's as you put it. Reason I was wondering was seeing Rich, one of Jenkin's characters, running around in the opening and ending of the book. Up until the mention of the Red Sepulchre and the 'Staring at the Wall' events I was confused..

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Guest John Shirley

Good to get some feedback from everyone. Yes i should've mentioned women as well as "blokes" in that acknowledgement. I hereby acknowledge them. But there seem few here. Here's some inside dirt on the first book: I had submitted like eight premises for novels to the publishers, and they selected War Lord. It was to be Constantine running about the world a bit, break him out of his usual stomping grounds (I know he's been in America a lot...this is the Middle East)...and the type of story it is, having to do with war, lends itself to action involving choppers and explosions and such. Also I was *required* by the editors to have a story that *threatened the whole world* as in Bond etc so that kind of sets up a tone for the book. What do readers here, who've read the book, think of the political subtext? The point of the book has to do with innocent people caught in the crossfire...It isn't developed in a sophisticated way, analyzing the world's arm's markets or whatever, that wasn't something there was room or time for, but it's there. Some scenes strike me as quite serious in their statement and I did a fair amount of research. Also what do you think of the mystical side? I have researched that for thirty years. Here's a sample of my NEW Constantine novel:

 

Three bits of the newest John Constantine novel, SUBTERRANEAN, which I'm now writing. These are first draft (but probably won't change a LOT) and have connective sections which I've not included here...so this is not a completely continuous section...just samples in the early part of the book...

 

"No it's never your fault, is it John?" Chas said. "But it always turns to shite when JC comes round. I don't need the aggro. I almost got up and left when you sat down here and I believe I will now…" Chas got up and walked out.

Constantine shrugged and gave Chas the finger, in the mirror behind the bar. But Chas never turned around to see it, so that Constantine found he was giving himself the finger. He sighed and ordered another gin. His hand trembled as he pushed his empty away and he knocked it over, spilling a little ice on the bar. He looked down to see that one pyramid-shaped piece of ice was slowly moving across the wooden counter, sliding slowly, but definitely moving. He supposed it was moving from the vibrations in the bar caused by the rugby players thumping the wood at the other end as they compared exaggerations. He watched gloomily as the piece of ice moved…and then more closely as it moved a little faster, up and down, right and left, leaving melt in a trail that spelled out letters in water,

Y o u a r e s u m m o n e d t

He smeared it away with his hand before it could finish.

"Not me," he muttered. Could be someone contacting him--could be his stressed out imagination. He shook his head. Not going to answer that telephone.

That's when the rugby players decided to play "We are the Champions" on the jukebox. And the barman turned it up loud.

"Fucking 'Queen'," Constantine muttered. "Sod it. That does it for me."

He got up, slapped some money down on the bar, and walked unsteadily out the door.

It had just stopped raining. The evening streets were slick, making iridescent petrol rainbows; the gutters gushing after the heavy downpour, a rain so recent that people passing still had their umbrellas up, though the only dripping now was from eaves and shop signs. He walked along, thinking he might go back to the card room, play some poker, pick up some dosh. He'd about run out his string in Garcy's, however--they knew he was cheating somehow. They didn't know he was using telepathy, but then they didn't care how he was doing it.

No, he couldn't face all those glum card players, the dealer's air of exhausted boredom. So he simply walked, without caring where.

In Constantine's coat pocket was a letter to Kit, in an envelope that was sealed, addressed, stamped, ready to mail. He'd been carrying it around all day. Kit had turned him away, in Ireland, three days earlier. He'd written the letter on the boat across St George's channel, on stationery bought in the ferry gift shop...

 

[skipping some bits]

 

He detached his consciousness from his body with the inner movement he'd learned—long ago, he'd learned it, but the Blue Sheikh had helped him improve it—and he was suddenly drifting above his body-- a yard, two yards, over the vacant lot, looking down at himself sitting there; his body anyway, just sitting there, breathing but unoccupied, hands on knees.

Looking at the nicotine stains on his body's fingers; at the corner of his lip where he habitually shoved the cigarette. The creases in his face more numerous than the creases in his battered old coat. The gray hairs showing at his temples; the stubble, forgot to shave this morning. A few hairs growing out of his nostrils, his ears. A single age spot on the back of his right hand. Dirt under his fingernails. A chewed-up thumbnail. The youthful hair style, like a man trying to pretend he's still in his twenties. Pathetic. The habitually glum set of his features…

Christ, no wonder Kit wants nothing to do with you…Who'd want to look at that, day in and out.

But he knew it wasn't his worn, shabby appearance that bothered her. More like it was his worn, shabby soul.

It seemed to him that his body, sitting there on the bench, was a monument to lost possibilities…

The depression seemed to congeal in him then, to thicken and grow heavier and denser, so that he was weighted down, his gloom dragging him back down toward the body, so that he fell back into that sad, aging man seated with his eyes shut on the broken wall in the ugly little vacant lot…

And with a thump he was back in his body, his eyes snapping open.

"Oh fuck me," he murmured.

"You'd be the one," said the hazy figure, stumping toward him through the weeds.

Constantine blinked, clearing his eyes. "What?" It was another old tramp, slogging his way. Wanting a cigarette, the price of a drink. "Bugger off."

He was an old white-haired, white-bearded tramp with a red nose, crisscrossed by broken veins, tiny foggy blue eyes, wearing a tattered black sailor's jacket from the Royal Navy. "My name's Duffy," the old geezer said. "I've come for you."

"Right. So you're like the Grim Reaper except you're the Grim Tramper eh? Come to take me to the land of the terminally pissed?"

"Close--come to take you to Salisbury Plain, I have. To Tonsell-by-the-Stream—or where it was. The military boys have kept it out of the papers, but you might've heard the rumors."

"Right you are, rumors that a lot of bloody hippies have been over running Stonehenge again, down that way. Got a drink on you?"

The old man stared at him, shrugged, reluctantly fished a pint out of his coat and passed it over. Constantine took a long drink and almost gagged. "Crikey, what's that, lighter fluid?"

"It's whisky, that is. My second cousin Basil makes it. We'd better be off, got a long way to go."

"Thanks for the drink, mate. Take it back and kill the weeds in your lawn with it, if you've got a lawn. I'm off to the pub for a real drink."

"We haven't got time—I've cast the knucklebones, with the claws of a hawk, and seen it all from high up, and that's how I seen you. Saw you in my mind. Go to London, said the bones, follow the stream there, once you're out the underground, the water in the gutter will take you to 'im, he'll be alone on a stone wall—and there you was. I don't know who you are, but you're the one to help—the rain told me so, too—"

Constantine was beginning to suspect there was more to this old man than rum or lunacy, but he wasn't having any of it. He wasn't going to listen to messages written by ice on the bar or sent along through old rummies in vacant lots—because he knew the messages came from the Hidden World and he wanted no more messages from anywhere that didn't have a postal code. Not in this lifetime.

"Here's a fiver," Constantine said, tucking the bill in the old man's coat pocket. "Get yourself a drink—somewhere I won't be drinking. I'm off."

.Constantine lurched up from the wall—still a bit unsteady from the whisky and having been unbodied—and staggered across the vacant lot. He was distantly aware the old man was following him, so he headed uphill, where he figured he'd been harder to follow, if you were an old geezer, and soon outdistanced him. He couldn't stomach the Cutter again, so he popped into a liquor shop, bought two pints of Bushmills. If he got good and drunk it'd numb him to the psychic impulses from the Hidden World. It was like taking the phone off the hook. He managed to get one of the pints down him, not twenty steps from the shop he'd bought them in, and was just getting a good start on the other—the empty still in his right hand-- when the bobby came rolling along.

"'ere, what's all this?" the roundfaced, mustachioed bobbie demanded, tilting his helmet back with his nightstick, as Constantine chucked his empty pint bottle after a cabbie who'd ignored his hail. The bottle smashed on the street.

"The bashtard shaw me standing there and fookin' ignored me!" Constantine said, slurring the words a little and sending a rude gesture after the receding black cab.

"Look here, turn that other pint over, mate," said the copper, putting his hand out, "you've 'ad quite enough. 'e didn't pick you up because you're scarcely standing, you're swaying…Now let's have it."

"Oh you want it, do you?" Constantine asked, slapping the bobby on the shoulder with a false bonhomie.

And Constantine grabbed the bobby's belt with his left hand, jerked him close, opening the top of his uniform trousers in the process, his other hand shoving the open pint bottle into the cop's boxers. Irish whisky gurgled onto the bobby's private parts. Whisky can burn, too.

Constantine was just wondering what that sensation was like, when he felt another sharp sensation, the nightstick cracking him on the side of the head.

#

 

[skipping some bits]

 

 

#

Cleaning up in the inn's WC, grateful for the soothing cool of the water on his still-throbbing goose-egg, Constantine thought: Now's the time to ditch the crazy old bastard with his knucklebones and hawk's claws. He's near his home, he'll be alright.

He'd come this far with the old geezer mostly out of a kind of inertia—and, like Chas, wanting to get away from London. Or was that the reason?

He looked at himself skeptically in the mirror of the WC. "You know better, you bastard," he told himself. An addict doesn't know he's relapsing into his addiction till well along in the process. You swore off magic, and you're out here looking for it again, like a bugle-addict swearing off cocaine and then accidentally-a-purpose wandering into just the neighborhood where it's sold on the way home from the meeting…

He sighed and shook his head. He was here now. May as well look at Tonsell.

Was that what the coke-head said to himself? Since I'm here, may as well see how me old Bruv the dealer is doing…

There were other reasons to leave this alone, apart from fear of feeding the addiction. His enemies were at hand. He had gone out of his way to hide himself from them—several conjurations, it had needed, one requiring two pints of blood from him and a shot-glass of semen. And then—

He winced at the memory.

But it had worked. He'd hidden himself in a magical fog—

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