Lord of the Spiders

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Second of the Michael Kane trilogy, also known as Blades of Mars. Originally published under the pseudonym Edward P. Bradbury.

Publishing History (UK)

  • Mass Market Paperback, Compact, 1965, Cover by James Cawthorn - as Blades of Mars
  • Mass Market Paperback, NEL, 128pp., ISBN: 0-450-00697-2, Jun 1971
  • Mass Market Paperback, NEL, 128pp., ISBN: 0-450-02294-3, 1975
  • Mass Market Paperback, NEL, 128pp., ISBN: 0-450-02294-3, 1979, Cover by Tim White

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Omnibus Publication (UK)

Publishing History (US)

  • Mass Market Paperback, Lancer, 1966, Cover by Gray Morrow - as Blades of Mars
  • Mass Market Paperback, Lancer, ISBN: 0-447-74736-2, 1970, Cover by BShan (?)
  • Mass Market Paperback, DAW, ISBN: 0-87997-443-5, 6 Feb 1979, Cover by Richard Hescox
  • Mass Market Paperback, Ace, ISBN: 0-441-79144-1, Mar 1991, Cover by Dorian - as Blades of Mars
  • Paperback, Paizo Publishing, 160pp., ISBN: 1-60125-082-7, 15 Feb 2008, Cover by Andrew Hou

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Omnibus Publication (US)

Synopsis

* * The following section may contain spoilers * *

Very much taken with his story, Edward Powys Bradbury takes Michael Kane back to his Belgravia home and supplies him with the finances to construct another matter transmitter. When it is completed, they take it to Stonehenge to set it up. It works, but Kane appears to be nowhere near Varnal in spite of his calculations. After being rescued from a rhadari, by Hool Haji, whom he mistakes for an Argzoon, but is in fact from Mendishar, he begins to think he may have arrived at the wrong time, too!

He learns that Hool Haji is the leader of his race (related to the Blue Giants of the first book) but has been forced into exile by the Priosa, former palace guards who have taken power and started a new religion, which they enforce with a merciless rule.

Returning with Hool Haji to his homeland, they start to plot uprising but upon being betrayed they are forced to flee along with a handful of Hool Haji's countrymen. Wandering through the Black Desert, they stumble upon a buried abandoned city. Exploring they encounter many ancient machines and the degenerate descendants of the Yaksha, who built it. After fighting them they fabricate an airship using some of the machines, but are forced to fight the Yaksha again before they can make their escape.

Once free of the city they are caught in what Hool Haji calls the Roaring Death, a destructive wind that sweeps them across the Western Ocean. They come come down in dense jungle and set out to cautiously explore their surroundings. When Hool Haji fails to return Michael Kane sets out to find him but is taken captive, with the use of a paralysing poison, by strange creatures with the legs of spiders but the bodies of men. They take him to Mishassa, the last of the Shaasazheen, a race of giant, intelligent spiders created by the radiation from the last war between the Sheev and the Yaksha. Hool Haji is also suspended in Mishassa's web to be a sacrifce but, the paralysing poison wearing off, they fight the giant spider and escape as he dies after killing all his own spidermen helpers.

Returning to the airship, they recross the Western Ocean and return to Mendishar, audaciously atack the capital, Mendisharling, and capture the leader of the Priosa, Jewar Baru. The people revolt against the upstart regime and defeat them, restoring Hool Haji as their Bradhi or king.

With Hool Haji no longer needing his help Michael Kane heads south past the Caves of Darkness where the Argzoon, cousins to the Mendishar, live. Attacked by a flying beast he is forced to land near a river, where he encounters a fleet returning to Mishim Tep. He learns that he has returned to the time of Shizala!

Returning with them to Mih-Sa-Voh, the capital of Mishim-Tep he learns that they are now at war with Karnal, their former friends and allies, their Bradhi, Bolog Fas Ogdai, believing that they had traitorously killed his son, Telem Fas Ogdai. Visiting the court to reason with the king Kane discovers that they have all come under the evil influence of Horghul. Managing to escape (with Darnad, who had also been taken prisoner), he returns to Varnal (and Shizala) and tells Carnak what has brought about this turn of events. After coming up with a plan, Kane returns to Mih-Sa-Voh in disquise and, with the help of Toxo, a Jelusa thief, he is able to kidnap Horguhl and take her to where the armies are massed, prior to battle. With the aid of the Sheev Mirror of Truth, found in the Mishim-Tep palace, Michael Kane forces Horguhl to confess the truth to Bolog Fas Ogdai and his army. The battle thus averted, Michael Kane and Shizala are able to continue their long interrupted ceremony and become engaged.

List of Characters and Races

List of Places, Artefacts and Creatures

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