Reign (Dark Harvest, 1990)

I loved writing Reign, which was published in hardcover by Dark Harvest in several collectors’ editions. It was a novel set in world of the theatre, where I’ve lived a goodly portion of my life. I got into writing as the result of being a professional actor (a long story that I’ll blog about someday), and have, in the past few years, reinstated my Actors Equity card and am trodding the professional boards once again, to my great pleasure.

Reign is the story of an actor based on Yul Brynner, who plays the same stage role for so many years that he becomes identified with it. In my novel, however, the character takes on a life of its own, becoming a malevolent doppelganger. The scenes with “The Emperor” are written in play form, a harbinger, I suppose, of the actual plays I would later write. Reaction was strongly positive. The novel was nominated for a Stoker Award, and Publishers Weekly called it “believable, elegant (and) thoroughly enjoyable,” while Gauntlet said, “honest, uncompromising and emotionally charged in a way that is too uncommon in works of horror fiction.”

John and Laura Lakey did the beautiful wraparound dust jacket and interior illustrations. But that dust jacket proved a bit embarassing when my ole pard Joe R. Lansdale’s blurb was credited to Joe B. Lansdale. 20 years down the road, and I’m still apologizing…

The book has never been published in paperback, and I think it’s damn well about time…

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