I will admit, I own a haunted handgun. I’m a .41 magnum fanatic. At the gun store where I once worked, a police evidence room trade in came in. It was a S&W Model 57 pin barrel. It was beautiful to behold and I couldn’t whip out my credit card fast enough. After I finished the paperwork and now owned it, I heard the story behind this stunning handgun. This revolver had been originally bought by a lady who took it home and killed her daughter with it then herself. That explained the odd bluing on the bottom of the barrel as apparently blood isn’t good on bluing. But the thing shoots evilly well like it really is haunted. I would carry it every day except it weighs too much, only holds six bullets and I would cry if something happened to damage it.
In my gun collection are some military rifles. Since my grandfather from whom I have my middle name fought in WWI, I tend to stress those types of weapons. I have a Webley revolver which he may have carried, a Lee Enfield he might have used in boot camp and a German Mauser which may have been shot at him. The stories behind those rifles are lost in time unless I make them up which isn’t as interesting as that particular .41 magnum I own.
This brings us to “Forged in Blood.” It’s set in Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold series but that isn’t the whole point. It’s a collection of stories about a sword, originally forged in ancient Japan and its journeys from the past, present, future and far future. Due to battle damage it is reforged but the soul of the sword remains. Each story is written by authors I’ve looked up to for years. Heck, if Michael Z. Williamson rewrote the 1922 New York City phone book and was charging $19.99 for the Kindle version of it, I’d be thrilled to buy and download it probably giving it five stars. And I’ve bought books from many of the other authors who wrote stories. These are the aces of current SF writing no matter how obscure some of their names seem.
I will admit as I read many of the stories in “Forged in Blood,” chills ran down my spine. I have studied Kendo and know a little about Japanese swords, how they are used and even have a blade which I don’t know very much about but some day would like to have restored in my safe. I also am a student of military history and know of duty, honor and selfless commitment even at the cost of my own life as firefighter as I was not privileged enough to be able to serve in the military–bad eyes and an even worse heart.
Since I purchased it, I’ve reread it many times and discovered many deeper layers and meanings on some of the things written. It has become a staple when I need inspiration for my own writing.
Usually I complain about the price of Kindle books put out big publishers lamenting that I could have bought at least a couple of other books probably as good, but in this case the price is an exceptional value for a book that will haunt you for years to come.
If you don’t buy any other book I’ve reviewed, please buy this one.