I remember being in elementary school, reading my way through Howard and Lovecraft, and looking for that next thing. An older kid on my school bus recommended Manly Wade Wellman’s Silver John stories. And while I enjoyed John the Balladeer, those stories leading me to Wellman’s John Thunstone was where the magic really happened for me.
Manly Wade Wellman was a giant. Few authors have influenced me in the way Wellman has. He epitomized the pulp sensibilities I gravitated toward and near everything he touched was Appalachian gold.
For me, John Thunstone was the culmination of all Wellman’s considerable talents given life on the page. Big and strong, Thunstone was a scholar and playboy who battled supernatural menaces with a silvered cane sword inscribed with the latin phrase — Sic pereant omnes inimici tu — which translates as “thus perish all your enemies”.
In the tradition of Wheatley’s Mocata and…
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