Torches flared murkily on the revels in the Shambles where the thieves of the city held carnival by night. It was a place where the revellers could pursue their passions to their fullest, for here there were no limits to the lengths to which the criminals of the city would not descend. Well spent coin given to the city guard and the tavern owners alike ensured that. The shambles had its own code, but it did not match with that of the rest of the city, and that suited both parties perfectly. It was often said that it was always the case that a visitor would wipe their feet only when leaving The Shambles, not when entering it…

So into the city of Zingo strode Barf the Barbarian in search of the tower of the Anas Platyrhynchos and the heart of the Anas Platyrhynchos that was held by the shadowy figure of the priest Yobo, within. With his (somewhat magical if not downright annoying) magical sword, Humdinger and a very odd encounter with the Prince of Thieves (never shake his hand), Barf definitely has his work cut out for him this time…

“Barf the Barbarian in the tower of the Anas Platyrhynchos” is the first short story in the Chronicles of Barf the Barbarian, a new series of not entirely serious heroic fantasy from the increasingly worrying mind of best-selling author, Michael White.

(Oh, and there’s a map.)

(We're sorry about the map. We really are.)

The Tower of the Anas Platyrhynchos” is but the first of three tales of the mighty warrior known as, “Barf the Barbarian”. The next will be “Red Nail” (singular, for those of you in the know ;) ) and the final one, the hour of the dragon. I am an interested reader of Robert E Howard’s Conan, but find that there is also room for some humour there too. In retrospect you have to admire that at the time he almost single handedly invented the sword and sorcery genre, for there was nothing else quite like Conan on the market at the time at all. Yet now it seems that the parent of the genre is forgotten, and that Conan is but a curio or a footnote on the authors who followed him. There is no doubt that Howard’s work can seem dated - his writings include several more than dubious lines regarding the colour of a person’s skin as well as his depiction of women. Of course this was all quite normal at the time - you only have to look at the covers of all of the “Weird Tales” magazines, or indeed any pulp books at the time to realise that. I used this a little bit in “Overboard” when Daisy describes the front of Neep’s wannabe pirate book as containing overflowing dubloons and several ladies who seem to have blouse problems.