A Man Without A Past
A novel of the 13th Age
Cipher is a monk: a master of the Deadly Arts, able to dismantle enemies using his bare hands. He is immune to lies, and can see volumes of information in the smallest detail.
Unfortunately, that’s all he knows. His real name, his history – all stolen by an unknown foe.
Without memory or purpose, Cipher can only follow his instinct to find bad people, and hit them until they stop doing bad things. Joining a crime-fighting cavalry unit in a remote corner of the Dragon Empire, he finds himself allied with a singing orc, an indecisive elf, and a flying carpet that doesn’t like heights. Together they’ll take on a crazy halfling death cultist, a love-maddened alchemist, a charming drunkard dog-thief, a blinded arch-demon in chains, and the bizarre Mantischorgoth.
The Forgotten Monk is high fantasy and high adventure, woven into a story of strong friendships, deadly hatreds, ingenious criminal mysteries and baffling affairs of the heart.
Download Chapter One in PDF format.
When you pre-order The Forgotten Monk, you get the EPUB, AZW3 and PDF version.
|Stock #: SSP09
||Author: Greg Stolze
|Artist: Pat Loboyko
||Format: 288 page novel
Allen Stroud from the British Fantasy Society reviewed Letters to Lovecraft. Thanks Allen! You can read the full review here. Allen says,
“Reading ‘Letters’ is a good exercise in identifying and understanding the influence of H. P. Lovecraft on modern horror and in looking at a collection of stories you can see the techniques he pioneered. It is also a good demonstration of how much a writer can still learn from the 1925 essay, ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’. It also highlights how Lovecraft’s legacy needs to be taken as a whole; both his personal prejudice and ability to project depth; allowing us to glimpse a universe we cannot truly comprehend and through the stories, learn to fear.”
“‘Past Reno’ by Brian Evenson is the first story of the collection and mixes personal character scars with a wider impression of the ritualised rules of our world. Through Bernt, we get an idea that the world functions on a clear set of guidelines, but Bernt’s ignorance of them, the assumption of others that he knows them, and ultimately his rejection of them, leaves us with the idea that they exist. Evenson replicates Lovecraft’s trick of reversing humanity’s quest for knowledge. Instead of journeying to find understanding, a glimpse of understanding is so strange and beyond what we expect that we are terrified by it and flee. This leaves the reader with the glimpse, not with the character or to some extent, the plot.”
“The stories that use Lovecraft’s mythos and style to make a hybrid work are of significant interest and it is here that the collection transcends the pastiche. ‘Allochthon’ by Livia Llewellyn blends macro and microplot, using the signifiers of mental depression to create a truncated narrative that depicts a surreal world of perception. In this, we have the internal and external explanations as expressed by Donaldson and we never know whether Ruth’s end is driven by a glimpse of the true nature of the world, by her own personal trauma or both.”
“There are some prevalent themes; the lingering images and intentional intangibility of Lovecraft features widely, but there are other stories that look to explore his racism, his Cthulhu mythos and more. As you explore the collection, it is clear a lot of thought has gone into the placement of each story and how it relates to the others.”
Hello again, friends. It’s me, Enigmatic Icon, back from my too-hot-for-early-1990s-daytime-TV summer vacation. I really let my moss down this year, with holidays at Stonehenge, Amsterdam, and Little Rock, Arkansas. I even saw the Rolling Stones, and between you, me, and the snails in my cavernous nostrils, those rock stars are getting even older than me…Anyway, that was my dream vacation, I actually spent most of the summer eating Roquefort cheese while watching reruns of the Rockford Files. Luckily for you, my bosses at Stone Skin Press have been a lot more productive–here’s a taste of what they’ve been up to.
- We ran a special promotion courtesy of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. This one’s come and gone, but if you missed it make sure to tune in to future episodes for more great, exclusive deals.
- We announced the full line-up for our newest anthology, Letters to Lovecraft. It’s got Tim Lebbon, Gemma Files, Robin D. Laws, Livia Llewellyn, and ah jeez, you better just click on the link and see for yourself, since there’s 18 of ’em.
- Speaking of Letters to Lovecraft, did we forget to mention that the book is already available for pre-order? We didn’t? Well, good!
- What about the fact that we released the super secret Letters to Lovecraft cover art? It’s right here, on the main Stone Skin page.
- Also, keep checking in for all the latest news you can use, either on the website, or via our dedicated accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. This is also the first place we announce contests and special promotions, so don’t be shy.
I’m getting tired again just looking at all that. Plus, there are even more announcements right around the corner, but for now I’m going to get back to daydreaming of the summer that could have been. Seems like all I did was lay waste to foreign temples, but I really ought to quit–I just read that smoking ziggurats is bad for your health. See you next time, Stone Skinners and Pelgraneteers…
As summer envelopes us in its muggy embrace, I, the Enigmatic Icon, come to deliver you auspicious news. What’s that? No, I haven’t finally hunted down the interlopers to my island who stole the crown of golden vines from off my stony brow. Or gotten to the bottom of who’s been spreading rumors about my love life, but that’s a whole other deposit of igneous material, if you catch my drift. No, today I bring you tidings of my employer, Stone Skin Press–they have been busy since last time I checked in here.
- The “Stone Skin on the Rocks” column has proven popular, with new authors guest-blogging each week to recommend a particular beverage to pair with their fiction. The heat does make a person (or golem-like construct) thirsty:
- Ed Greenwood and Maurice Broaddus contributed drinks that were both a little sweet and a little sour for their column that paired drinks with stories from The New Hero Volume 1.
- Jesse Bullington talked rum, in particular it’s link to Vodou and his story in The New Hero Volume 2.
- Dmetri Kakmi took out the sour but kept the sweet for his story in The New Gothic.
- Finally, S.J. Chambers provided a suggestion that is every bit as terrifying as her story in the same anthology.
- Speaking of The New Gothic, our anthology of all things dark and creepy, the book continues to earn rave reviews:
- In a write-up at his blog, J.T. Glover says, in part, “If you like Gothic, if you like horror, or if you like the Weird, there’s something for you in this well-edited collection of stories. Kudos to the editor for putting together such a good book, and kudos to Stone Skin Press for making it an attractive book. So many paperbacks are cheaply made, and it’s a pleasure to hold something in your hand that feels durable, looks good, and will stand up to the rereading it deserve.”
- And over at Innsmouth Free Press, K.L. Pereira also gives it a glowing review, saying in part, “What marks this anthology as one to watch is indeed its focus on fear and how each plays with this and other very human emotions to highlight the concept of Gothic as pervasive, regardless of creepy mansion or madwoman in the attic.”
Cold drinks and hot reviews–it doesn’t get much better than that. We’ve got some brand new stuff coming out in the days to come, so be sure to follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages for up to the minute updates, and of course there’s also the main Stone Skin site.
I’ll be back in August, and until then do as I do, and watch out for chisels.
Hey there. It’s me, Enigmatic Icon, back with answers to questions so timely you hadn’t even thought to ask them yet. Who hewed me from the living rock of my jungle home and imbued me with seemingly immortal life? By what insidious design was I first loosed upon an unsuspecting world? If I am an icon–and I must confess that I am–what inscrutable power am I meant to represent? Should you fear me? How do you get an ebook from the Stone Skin Shop onto your ereader?
Get comfortable, because all this may take quite some time and… Um, you know what, the Pelgrane looks pretty agitated over there, and the last time I ruffled those feathers it took forever to clean up, so maybe I’d better just stick to the script. This time. In brief, then, here’s the latest from Stone Skin Press:
That’ll do for now, but I’ll be back next month with plenty more to share. Rock on, friends.
Hi everyone, it’s me again: Enigmatic Icon. April showers bring May flowers, sure, but do you know what else they bring? Moss and lichens. And do you know what moss and lichens bring? Insects. And do you know what insects bring? Birds. As if I wasn’t busy enough with the Pelgrane, now I’ve a nest of sparrows in my nose. Just another day in paradise, I guess. Anyway, I’ve brought you fresh tidings from the good scribblers at Stone Skin Press:
- We’ve announced our newest book: A 21st Century Bestiary, edited by Stone Skin Press author Heather Wood. This one’s going to be a monster’s manual unlike any other, trust us.
- For April Fish Day we also posted a mock announcement for a book that’s not actually happening. Click here to see what the joke was–I didn’t really get it, but then again I like my humor like I like my chiseled visage: dry.
- The New Gothic anthology continues to attract good press the way an attic attracts bats. The newest glowing review comes from Farsight Blogger.
- And for readers who prefer to sample a taste for themselves rather than read a gourmand’s write-up, we’ve posted more samples from The New Gothic: Damien Kelly’s “The Whipping Boy,” Phil Reeves’s “The Vault of Artemas Smith,” and Ed Martin’s “The Fall of the Old Faith.”
- Then there’s our skullduggerous anthology Schemers, which just earned a winning review from literary criticism site Popcults.
- We’ve also posted some more previews from that assembly of charming scoundrels: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan’s “Buried“, Elizabeth A. Vaughan’s “The Weapon at Hand,” Jesse Bullington’s “The Devil’s Tontine,” and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer’s “The Bridgehouse Game.”
- For those who love a bargain as much as they love quality short stories, the etailer Drivethrufiction is offering two enticing bundles: The New Hero Bundle, which gives you both The New Hero and The New Hero II at a deep discount, and The Cthulhu Mythos Bundle, which includes almost a dozen Cthulhu-related books, albums, and audio books, including our very own Shotguns V. Cthulhu.
- More news will be posted as it happens over on the main site, and be sure to check in often as we’ll be giving away free copies of our books in a series of contests.
That’s probably plenty of gravel for you to chew for now, but I’ll be back next month to give you another update. Until then, stay stony, everyone.
Color me honored to appear as a guest on the landmark 50th episode of the G*M*S Podcast. Join ace interviewer Paco Jaen as he grills me on Stone Skin Press, Hillfolk, and how we coerced Simon into greenlighting Dreamhounds of Paris.
Regarding the post-interview discussion, I hate to ruin a thrilling mental picture but have to say that working with Chuck Wendig in no way entailed a clash of the titans. When you commission a piece from Chuck, it’s not his delightfully gonzo online persona that shows up to play, but a skilled and thoroughly professional talent. He delivers great work and, when asked for adjustments, responds to them in a way that further plumbs the emotional depth of his story.
In the same discussion, Paco wonders, re: Hillfolk, how much politics and drama can arise from a tribal raiding culture. Clearly Paco has never been an iron age raider. From deposing the chieftain to making alliances and feuds, grist for intrigue always abounds in a Hillfolk game. The relative isolation of the tribal setting provides the emotional hothouse that requires the main characters to continue to deal with one another. Most compelling dramas confine their main casts in some way, within a family, sub-culture, or power structure. The raider band conceit does that in a very clear and simple way, helping players to quickly find and remain in the game’s essential rhythm.
Today saw the much anticipated launch of the Stone Skin Press Kickstarter. Stone Skin Press is our fledgling fiction imprint. We have four anthologies of amazing fiction lined up already and the Kickstarter will help fund these and allow us to commission more.
Already we’ve had takers for the $75 and $150 reward levels and they just keep coming. With pledge amounts from $1-$1000 there is something for everyone! Rewards include a set of 4 limited edition hardbacks, art prints of interior illustrations, bookmarks, paperbacks, ebooks, and google hangout sessions.
Check out all the details over at the Stone Skin Press Kickstarter page.
If you like our roleplaying games and supplements, and you like fiction, you’ll want to see us apply the Pelgrane Press sensibility to a series of short story anthologies. That’s just what we’re doing with Pelgrane’s new sister imprint, Stone Skin Press. With the first books headed for launch, we’ll be periodically updating you here with pointers to Stone Skin news and developments.
Check out Gene Ha’s phenomenal cover to The New Hero Volume 2, the fourth book in the line and the second to present a wide-ranging set of takes on the iconic hero structure.
Likewise, take a peek at our cover mock-up for The Lion and the Aardvark, our collection of fables for the modern age, as drawn in retro editorial cartoon style by Jim Zub of Udon and Skullkickers renown.
To get your Stone Skin skinny in its purest, freshest form, add the Stone Skin Press blog to your RSS feed.
Or follow us on Twitter.
Or like our new Facebook page.