Originally Published: 1975 by Warner Paperback Library
Lo! Now arrives the conclusion of our coverage of Karl Edward Wagner’s Bloodstone. Such a large undertaking to try and tackle a novel in only two episodes. I feel like so many topics and themes hit the cutting room floor. One such subject was the role of horses in fantasy literature and Teres’s faithful horse Gwellines!
Bloodstone was translated into German in 1989 and then into Italian in 1991. I really loved the portrayal of the ring in the Italian cover so I wanted to display it here. It looks almost as if the ring is oversized and more girdle like. It gives the feeling of the power of the ring and also references how slippery the ring was until it began fusing itself to Kane.
Deuce Richardson, who we previously mentioned in the ‘Undertow’ episode, brought up another possible influence on Wagner’s work. This time the link is between Wagner’s Bloodstone and A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage.
Dwellers in the Mirage was originally published in Argosy Magazine split into six parts starting in January of 1932. It was written by the very interesting, world traveling, occult book collecting Abraham Grace Merritt or A. Merritt. We know Karl Edward Wagner read Merritt because of the inclusion of Merritt’s book Burn, Witch, Burn on Wagner’s list of Best Supernatural Horror Novels so a possible connection is not out of left field. Below are some of the connections that first stood out to me. This could certainly become its own blog post.
-The Ring: In Bloodstone the Ring is Kane’s connection with the space entity Bloodstone. It grants him access to Bloodstone and its power. In Dwellers, Leif Langdon also comes in possession of a ring. A ring that gives him the power to summon the horrible kraken space God Khalk’ru. The ring also starts him on the path of gaining knowledge and skills from a previous life. Both evil space creatures are tricking followers into powering their bids for power.
-Red Harvest Factor: In both stories the protagonist is going back and forth between two warring sides. The reader is often not sure which side they are really working for. In the end Leif helps the ‘good guys’ whereas Kane helps himself like a true hero-villain.
-Mind Control: Both tales have the ring exerting force over the bearer. It controls their decisions to a certain extent and the lead becomes unpredictable. In Dwellers it has more to do with a Blavatsky style past-life.
-Liebe zum Wolf: Love interests in both stories are warrior women who are associated with wolves. Teres is the daughter of ‘The Old Wolf’ and the chapter of her escape from Ristkon is titled ‘She-Wolf’s Fangs’. Lur, one of Leif’s two love interests in Dwellers, literally controls a pack of intelligent wolves into battle with her.
Maybe you see some of the connections, maybe you don’t. Either way, Dwellers in the Mirage was a fun pulpy read, perfect for sitting on the beach or surrounded by nature this summer.
I have the link for Graven Rite here. Please check them out and support their work. Below find the lyrics for their song ‘The Bloodstone Ring’ on their demo album The Summoner’s Pit.
The Bloodstone Ring will find it’s hand.
Two armies massed before the wasteland of rot to fight the beasts and the risen dead.