Henry Lion Oldie: "MESSIAH CLEARS THE DISK"
(novel, about 156.000 words, 1996.)
The Shaolin monastery is famous in the Chinese Empire in the enlightened XV century. There live the monks highly skilled in the arts of fighting and the Emperor himself regards them with favor. The reverend Chzhan Vo belonging to the highest rank of the monastery administration is at the same time the chief of the Emperor's secret police; the Shaolin treasury is full terrible things, thousands of peasants work in the fields belonging to the monastery. It is not strange because about half a century ago the warriors clad in yellow attires to the leader of the uprising of "red bandages" assisting him to drive the Mongol invaders back to the northern steppes and helped him, a simple peasant Chzhu Younchzhan, to ascend the throne of the Emperors of China. The policy of the Middle Empire is silently and inevitably directed by the invisible hands bearing the signs of the dragon and tiger. But strange things do happen in this world of vanity... In one of the towns of China an esteemed merchant all of a sudden came secretly to the house of an eminent dignitary and tore to pieces a rare flower and then pierced his own heart with a knife; then the Eighth Aunt, the wife of a humble dyer, attacked the bodyguards of the Emperor's brother and killed half of them, after which she broke the spine of the favorite little dog of the concubine Suan and cut her own throat with the governor's sword. Never before had the esteemed merchant attempted to be a thieve, never had the Eighth Aunt been skilled in any fighting arts, but on the third day after the death of both criminals very strange spot appeared on their bodies: the signs of the dragon and tiger.
And it is not by chance that the monk with shaven head advised the judge Bao who was appointed to investigate these strange cases to be not too diligent in his enquiries. What in fact is going on in the famous monastery, why the shadow of the patriarch Damo haunts it? It is he, the Bearded Barbarian, who long ago founded the monastery, but his goal had been neither the hoarding of gold nor the political games... Why were the Laws of Karma broken, where did the epidemic of the Buddha Madness come from, why are the dead rising from their graves and how could enter the monastery the strange boy now and then employing in his speech the hackers' slang of the end of the XX century? The answers to all these questions the reader is to find together with the judge Bao, the Taosian wizard Lan Taosin and other heroes of this novel combining several genre of fiction: mystical fantasy, cyberpunk, alternative history and, of course, the "philosophical thriller", which still is the favorite style of Henry Lion Oldie.
The novel "Messiah Clears the Disk" was admitted to the list of the Moscow bestsellers (9th place in the general rating).
In 1997 it was given the prize of the Association of Russian-Language Writers of Israel "For an outstanding contribution in the development of modern Russian literature".
In 1999, at "Star Bridge" SF & Fantasy Festival in Kharkov (Ukraine) H. L. Oldie received "The Black Belt" (1st degree) as a "Fan-Do Master" - for some fighting fragments from the novel "Messiah Clears the Disk".
In 2001, at "Star Bridge" SF & Fantasy Festival in Kharkov (Ukraine) H. L. Oldie got "The Golden Medals of Shaolin" (China-Russia, Shaolin U-Shu Association of Russia) for their novel "Messiah Clears the Disc".
This novel was published many times in Russia, and also in Poland and in Lithuania; the number of copies amount more than 120.000.
"OIKUMENE" BY HENRY LION OLDIE
(Novel of 3 volumes, about 275.000 words, 2006-2007. Published 2006-2007, re-published 2008, 2009, 2010 (Russia)).
Vol. 1: "Puppeteer", 2006, about 91.000 words.
Vol. 2: "Pupa", 2006-2007, about 92.000 words.
Vol. 3: "The Puppet Master", 2007, about 92.000 words.
"Oikumene" is a "space symphony" novel (some more complex and interesting kind of "space opera"). A far future. Many human races with unusual "energetic abilities" live in the Galaxy on different planets near different stars. Fantastic future technologies: many kinds of starships, bio-computers and bio-technologies, new materials, nano-technologies, virtual reality ("virt"), travels in hyper-space, plasma- and ray-guns, "inter-faze" powerful guns, a people with extra psycho-abilities and etc.
The main races (all are humans):
"The Energets" ("energetic races"):
– The Bramaines: they accumulate and use energy of personal sufferings.
– The Gematres: the genius-mathematics, they create so-called "gematrixes" which accumulate energy of Universe' structure.
– The Pompilians: they use the slaves for all their needs. The Pompilians can turn any person into a slave with the help of their specific psycho-abilities. They use energy of decreasing their slaves’ freedom degrees.
– The Vehdens: they develop and use their "inside fire" with the help of many bans and limitations they made for their own race.
– The Voodoons: they use the energy of spirits ("Loa") of all creatures and things. Also the Voodoons are very good doctors.
The non-energetic races:
– The Barbarians: the ordinary people who don’t have any developed technologies.
– The Technophilists (The Technologists): the ordinary people who have developed technologies.
The very special people:
– The Antises: the very little group of people from different "energetic races" (except Pompilians). About 150 persons in the Galaxy. The Antises can transform their material body into a wave-body and travel in space and in hyper-space without any starships or space-suits. The Antises have a very powerful energetic potential.
But the children who were born as a result of inter-races marriages, have no specific abilities.
Some dangerous creatures called "the space-time continuum fluctuations" can live in space. Some of them can destroy spaceships and/or kill people inside. Some special patrol spaceships and the Antises in their wave-form destroy the space-time continuum fluctuations to defend other starships. But even few men in the Galaxy consider that some higher and most complex fluctuations are intelligent, and if so, some contact is possible...
The main character of the novel is Lucciano Borgotta from one of the "Technophilists'" planets, a director of a traveling theatre of contact impersonality. The artists of this theatre are so-called "neuropasts" (as Lucciano Borgotta too). Neuropasts are a kind of very weak telepaths, they help other people (according to their agreement, of course!) to do some hard work: to pronounce an important speech as a professional orator, to play a role as a professional actor etc.
Borgotta makes one fatal mistake. So, he was prosecuted, and according to the judge's decision he became a slave of a Pompilian legate Guy Octavian Tumidus. As one of Tumidus’ slaves – "living batteries" – he works on the legate's personal starship. The starship comes to an unknown "barbarian" planet – to catch new slaves. After some dramatic fighting episodes on this planet Borgotta saves legate Tumidus and helps him to return to the starship on the orbit.
During the starship's coming back to civilized part of Galaxy a group of the space-time continuum fluctuations attacks the starship. During the space battle a little fragment of continuum fluctuation penetrates to Lucciano's body and mind. In the nearest future with the help of this fluctuation fragment Borgotta gets some new abilities. Now he can see and hear some true events of the past 50 years he has never really seen.
When they come to a civilized planet, legate Tumidus gives Borgotta new status: "semilibertus" – a half slave and a half free person. Now Borgotta must take part in some specific shows for the Pompilians. Also he must nurse after a big and strong idiot who is imprisoned in a chamber in the basement. Lucciano doesn't understand why he must do it, but he has to obey.
A pompilian woman Julia is interested in Borgotta’s unusual abilities for some secret psycho-investigations. She proposes Lucciano a contract and promises him help with his complete liberation. But at this time a group of Vehden terrorists kidnapped Lucciano, Julia and two little strange children – Gematres-twins.
Many interesting, dangerous events and adventures happen to Lucciano Borgotta further. He gets to know a secret of Gematres-twins, who turn out to be a result of the genetic experiment to pass specific "energetic" abilities to the children who were born in inter-races marriage. The big strong idiot from the jail chamber turned out to be a mad Antis after some psycho-attack...
The terrorists' starship meets the fluctuations, the former kidnappers and the kidnapped try to save themselves and stay alive together. Then they all come to the planet and get into a trap of a local sheriff-maniac. Borgotta and the terrorists together escape from that planet.
The strange and very complex net of intrigues around the mad leader-Antis of Vehden empire and Gematres-twins become more and more clear to Borgotta with the help of the extra abilities given to Lucciano by his symbiont-fluctuation. Finally he helps Antis to return to his normal condition; Gematres-twins found their father who knows the secret of their birth. Lucciano Borgotta together with Julia and some new friends finds a method to form a collective Antis ("Collant") from some ordinary people from different races. Now all the people in Galaxy can live and travel in space in wave-form without any spaceships.
The dynamic plot, striking characters, many adventures and some space and on-planet battles, psychological nuances, humanistic and philosophical ideas included.
In 2007 H. L. Oldie's novel "Oikumene" got the title of "The Best Russian Science Fiction Novel of 2007" by the version of "Fantastic World" magazine (Moscow, Russia), and the main character of this novel got the title of "The Best Fantastic Hero of the Year".
In 2008, at the 5th International SF & Fantasy Assembly "Portal" in Kiev (Ukraine) H. L. Oldie got "Great Portal" Prize for their novel "Oikumene".
"SHMAGIC" BY HENRY LION OLDIE
(Novel, 2003-2004, about 112.500 words)
It's an adventure fantasy novel with some irony. Andrea Musculus, the malefic from the Capitol of Rettia Kingdom, comes to the little provincial town Jatritsa. He has an important mission: to take off a skins from three virgins for the covers of magical manuscripts. But some strange events happen in Jatritsa, and Musculus have been forced to take part in the investigation of these events.
Some little children disappear and appear again during some days. After returning they tell about a strange place where the strange little girl was play with them. The young lad Janosh and old dyer Leonard Channel seems a true mages, but they are not a mages! The local witch Malice has some secrets concerning an attempt upon the life of King happened near Jatritsa five years ago. Many strange things happen in Jatritsa, and Musculus begins to puzzle out this conundrum.
He gets to know about a "syndrome of fake (false) mana" (or so-called "charlatan magic" or "ChMagic" / "ShMagic"), make the acquaintances with disappeared five years ago Higher Qualification Mage Fortunate Nail, with centaur from the circus and with a Lilliputian girl from the same circus who has "ShMagic syndrome". He gets to know much new interesting information about nature of demons and about an events happened here five years ago...
Finally, using his own magical abilities of malefic, Musculus brings together in the battle his colleague-mage with mage's personal demon who can change a people's destinies. Only the person who generate the demon can win this demon, in his own soul. We generate our demons ourselves, and only we can stop them. So, Musculus understood this fact, and with his help Fortunate Nail met his own demon face-to-face and destroyed him.
But it's a very short synopsis of the novel, it not even show all plot lines. Really the novel is much more complex, with original author's ironic-adventural style and mood. Some secondary plot lines and characters, philosophical and psychological elements and background nuances are important enough too.
The novel was published and re-printed 7 times during 7 years (in Russia and Ukraine).
Henry Lion Oldie: "THE WAY OF THE SWORD"
(novel; about 147.000 words, 1994.)
Book 1: Kabir
The world described in the novel is unprecedented among the works of the world fantasy. Its history and geography is very like the Earth in Middle Ages, but with an essential difference: here all arms such as swords, spears etc. have a mind of their own. Arms of the same type form something like human families or clans. The living swords etc. call themselves "Brilliants", and they consider the human beings to be but their "Carriers", like dogs or horses, and don't even suppose that they are intelligent too. And the people in their turn have not the slightest idea about the way things are. Nevertheless, this society is rather stable: the skill of fencing being raised to the level of high art any duels never result in the blood-spilling or Bearer's death. Thanks to easily understandable reasons the wars have also been forgotten long ago. In one word, this world is a kind of "feudal utopia".
But we learn that something is going wrong there. Mysterious and bloody murders began to happen in a number of towns. Not only people are killed, but also the intelligent arms happen to be destroyed. Such things have not happened here for almost eight centuries!
The main heroes of the novel are the upright sword Dan Gien called the Rhinoceros and its Carrier - a young nobleman Chaen Ankor.
The scimitar Sheshez ruling over the Emirate (from the Brilliants' point of view) invites the Rhinoceros to investigate those crimes. The same task is given by the man-Emir Daud to Chaen Ankor.
As the result Chaen himself gets into trouble: during a fencing competition his right hand was cut away. Being under the psychic influence (unaware of it) exercised by his sword, the young man feels that he cannot live without fencing and tries the last remedy: following the advice given to him by the Emir's jester Drudeel he orders a smith to forge an iron hand for him, although he understood very clearly that this was a nonsense.
But as the result of secret ancient rites the iron hand acquires life of its own! It becomes the intermediary between the man and his sword, a link between the two intelligent races. The heroes understand that in order to oppose the murderers they have now to Chaenge their minds; soon they manage to overcome the interdiction to kill inherent to both of them while saving the life of the jester Drudeel in a city street at night. The same night the man and his sword together with the jester's blunt dagger Djutte which is more widely known as the Kabir Executioner leave the capital following the footsteps of the murderers towards the native country of Chaen's ancestors, Maylan (closely reminding the ancient China). Their butlers (the man Kos An-Tanya and the Estoc sword Zarrahid) decide to accompany their masters during the dangerous journey in spite of the orders given to them to stay at home.
But the heroes had still to learn that some other companions were going after them. Should they had known that in advance...
Book 2: Maylan
The road to Maylan was abundant with adventures; the heroes got better acquainted with one another, now they not only cooperate but from time to time create a new entity, "man-sword". They meet a smart old woman called Mother Tsi who is searching for some ancient secrets, they learn the details of Kabirean history and inform their companions about the symbiosis they live in, and at last arrive safely to Maylan. Here the heroes enter into possession of their family inheritance and at the same time they find out that the princess of Maylan who had become a widow being still very young is aspiring to marry Chaen. Their investigation is likely to be interrupted, but suddenly a number of strange events happens around the heroes, all of them evidently having the goal to destroy the wedding. In the whirl of these around-wedding events the heroes manage to find the trace of the murderers (both men and the Brilliants) leading to an ancient Batinite sect whose members use the mortal duels in their rituals.
The Batinites (men and their swords called "the Tarnished" consider that the original destination of both human beings and arms was to kill, and they are obliged not to forget it.
But it is found out that the sectarians didn't take part in the crimes committed in Kabir! The real murderers are at last found (and among them the man and the sword who had cut away Chaen's hand). The night murderers turned out to be the citizens of Kabir who had been taken prisoners by the nomad tribe in a distant land of Shulma and ran away in order to rescue their native land. The point is that the savage nomads are going to attack Kabir, and the murderers decided to sacrifice themselves: to rouse the inhabitants of Kabir, to remind them of the old warrior skills and in such a way to save the land from perishing. In a secret underground temple many people and their arms meet to fulfill the ritual duel-sacrifice: the Batinites, the runaway Kabireans, a revenger pursuing his foes (who earlier had been shown as an episodic character), Chaen Ankor with his Rhinoceros, the Kabir Executioner and other heroes...
When the duel was in its full swing, a woman messenger arrived from a village situated near the border: it has been attacked by the nomads. The invasion began! The ritual was interrupted; the heroes ride as soon as possible to meet the fate awaiting them in the ravaged village...
Book 3: Shulma
The inhabitants of the village have been all slaughtered; their Brilliants are also dead and thrown down into a well. The advanced detachment of the Shulmus attack the company of the heroes, the battle begins; in the last moment the Kabireans are supported by their friends (both men and their Brilliants) who had followed them secretly. During the battle the Kabireans managed to overcome the interdiction to kill and defeat the Shulmus utterly; those who were lucky to stay alive were taken as prisoners. The nomads are overwhelmed by the fighting skills of their enemies, moreover, due to a casual coincidence of words they suppose Chaen Ankor to be the incarnation of the Yellow God Mo, the highest war deity of Shulma. During the duel between Chaen Ankor and the chief of Shulmus scouts Chaen's right hand, made of iron, is uncovered by chance, and this put an end to all doubts of the Shulmus.
The Kabireans go to Shulma; Kush-Tengry, a clairvoyant shaman abiding in the steppe goes to meet them because he forebodes great changes. Having arrived to a holy place where it is forbidden to fight, the Kabireans and the shaman soon found common language. It comes out that some time ago a High Gurkhan (chief governor) had appeared in Shulma and united all tribes in order to lead them to Kabir. This Gurkhan is evidently a native Kabirean. And Cinqueda, a short sword (his Brilliant) in its turn united the intelligent arms of the Shulmus that stayed until then in a savage state. In the holy place a variety of events happen until the Shulmus hords surround it.
There follows a duel between Gurkhan and Chaen Ankor. A stone thrown unexpectedly from a sling stunned the Kabirean, but the Rhinoceros and the iron hand save his life; while Chaen is unconscious, the Rhinoceros, controls the iron hand holding it and continues to fight. When Chaen comes to his senses he joins the battle, tears off the armor of the defeated Gurkhan -- and finds out that the leader of the Shulmus is a woman!
The ashamed nomads try to kill their former leader, but the Kabireans prevent them from doing this. The body-guards of the impostor Gurkhan take Chaen's side believing him to be the god.
Epilogue: Ambassadors from Shulma (the shaman Kush-Tengry and a friend of Chaen Ankor's) come to the Kabirean Emirate. They meet the old Emir and the jester Drudeel who had survived only by pure chance. There's no peace in the Emirate. The extremist part of the Batinites raised their heads. The peace treaty with Shulma seems to promise a happy end - but already a smith and an alchemist demonstrate in the presence of Emir the first sample of an arquebuse and the action of a powder bomb, proposing to use the new arms for the overcoming of the inner and external enemies.
A new epoch stands on the threshold. This world would never again be the same it had been before...
This tale is told in turns by the sword Rhinoceros and its Carrier Chaen Ankor. The action unfolds on the background of the crucial changing of the whole world's destinies. The numerous battle episodes are followed by philosophical discourses and dialogues, together with the psychological portraits of the heroes; original ideas are formulated, both ethic and fantastic. The adventures of the main heroes sometimes are tragical, but here and there humor and soft irony are woven into them. Besides this the novel contains several poetic fragments.
The novel is written on the merge of "fantasy" and "alternative history". It combines dynamic plot with deep philosophical and psychological problems, in particular with moral aspects of fighting arts.
The novel "THE WAY OF THE SWORD" was highly appreciated by the readers; it became an extremely popular book. This novel was published many times in Russia, and also in Canada (in French), in Poland and in Ukraine; the number of copies amount about 150.000.
The novel "The Way of the Sword" got "The Great Zilant" prize at "ZilantCon" SF & Fantasy Festival in Kazan (Russia) in 1999.