Howie K. Bentley first encountered sword-and-sorcery in The Savage Sword of Conan magazines when he was a teenager during the early 1980s. This led him to John Milius’s Conan the Barbarian film, and subsequently the Lancer/Ace Conan paperbacks edited by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp. Bentley says of the Conan books, “Those Frank Frazetta paintings were like a gateway to another world. I felt like I could step through them straight into the Hyborian Age.
“Around the same time that I was getting heavily into Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, I discovered that my school library had a collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars paperbacks. Howard and Burroughs helped shape my interests in reading early on. Up until then, it had been mostly comic books and Doc Savage paperbacks. Later on when I moved to Georgia, I used to comb every used bookstore in Atlanta for any sword-and-sorcery books that I could find.
“I was fortunate to have grown up in the 1980s. It was a great decade for heroic fantasy films, such as Conan the Barbarian, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Deathstalker, Fire and Ice, and The Beast Master. Even lesser fare such as Hawk the Slayer, Conan the Destroyer, and Red Sonja — though campy — were entertaining. What the 1950s did with westerns for my father’s generation, I feel as if the 1980s did for sword-and-sorcery to a somewhat comparable but lesser degree for my generation.”
Howie K. Bentley is also the founder, guitarist, lyricist, and sole composer of two heavy metal bands: Cauldron Born and Briton Rites. He has written a number of novelettes featuring the demon-god Thorn, who is the Cauldron Born mascot and graces the band’s album covers. Thorn, the physical manifestation of the Thorn rune, is a god slayer and a witch maker. Thorn made his first appearance in,“All Will Be Righted on Samhain”, a novelette featured in DMR Books’s Swords of Steel (2015) paperback anthology. Swords of Steel is a collection of sword-and-sorcery and weird stories in the grand old pulp tradition.
Another of Howie K. Bentley’s characters is Argantyr Fenris, a barbarian king who transforms into a werewolf. Argantyr and Thorn appear together in “The Heart of the Betrayer” published in Swords of Steel II (2016).
For a listing of all the books containing Howie K. Bentley’s stories and poetry, click here: