The Gargoyle’s Handbook
From the writer of the blockbuster videogame Half-Life, ten stories of the bard with a gargoyle’s hand.
For over a quarter of a century, Gorlen Vizenfirthe has entertained fans of wandering bards. Famous for playing his silver-strung eduldamer with one hand of flesh and one of stone, he has traveled from the dankest dens of Dankden to the desiccated domiciles of Wumnal Wells, first in search of a gargoyle with a hand of flesh, and then, partnered with said goyle, on the trail of the elusive wizard who swapped their hands in the first place.
The Gargoyle’s Handbook collects for the first time all the Gorlen tales that take place before the events of the novel, Underneath the Oversea. Herein are short stories about sinister cats and singing ships, novelettes of musical curses and trap-setting birds, novellas of transmogrified pilgrims and metaphysical moths—well over a hundred thousand weird and wonderful words, which is barely enough to describe Gorlen’s world.
For fans of Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, or sword and sorcery with more stringed instruments. For readers of Underneath the Oversea curious to learn how Gorlen found his family. Or for those who simply want a pocket guide to strange new lands. The Gargoyle’s Handbook might be just the handy manual you’ve been looking for.
Praise for the Gorlen novel, Underneath the Oversea:
“It’s timeless and old school, moving at a non-frenetic pace, yet curiously full of contemporary relevance and excitement. It’s not marked by the frantic overachieving of modern genre worldbuilding, yet it’s still rich and dense. It obviously predates the commodification of fantasy and the splintering of that genre into many niches. It’s not Tolkienesque or paranormal, urban or grimdark. It’s simply… echt fantasy, like Dunsany or Mirrlees, de Camp & Pratt or Hannes Bok. … Laidlaw’s tone and his whimsical, low-key yet alluring inventiveness have a light, eternally fresh style, not anchored to any one era. Yet the whole subtextual theme of a blended family is pure 21st-century topical material, natural and not hammered home. … There are constant surprises, cliffhangers, reveals, and moving sentimental epiphanies throughout these adventures, and at times a Vancian flair for dialogue. … The pristine, primal spirit of fancifulness that does not obey the dictates of marketplace or literary fashions … A book that will transport you ‘beyond the fields we know.'” – Paul di Filippo, Locus Magazine
“This is all really a delight. Everywhere there are wonders – the imagination of the author is a marvel. The novel remains at the same time light-hearted and quite serious – the stakes are high, there is much danger and some loss; but also there is comedy, and sweetness, and love. I was enchanted the whole way through.” – Rich Horton, Black Gate Magazine