June 2, 2023

Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos

The Raven series was originally published in the UK by Corgi in the late 1970s. The covers and general tone of the books seem to be intended to capitalize on the success of the Gor series by John Norman, which was popular at the time. The Gor series, in turn, had enjoyed a springboard launch into the public’s hands by the popularity of the Lancer Conan books. Hence, the Raven books were Sword & Sorcery, and many who have commented on them online refer to them as Sex & Sword & Sorcery. Men who read them as teenagers have written several really great blog posts about revisiting the books as adults. The cover art promised a lot of great stuff. There is no question that these books were written for a male audience. That said, reactions to the books have been mixed. The basic premise of the story seems familiar: Raven is plucked from the slave pits, taken on the road by a gang of bandits, learns martial arts, is named by a prophecy, and becomes a skilled swordswoman who falls into bed with men on frequent occasion. The consensus seems to be that they are neither great nor terrible as forms of entertainment. As usual, a reader must judge for himself.

These novels were co-written under the pseudonym Richard Kirk by Robert Holdstock (author of the modern fantasy classic Mythago Wood) and Angus Wells, a British fantasy and western writer who also worked under a bunch of other pen names. The series ran for five books and was never completed.

The cover art for the Corgi first editions were by Chris Achilleos, linked in the gallery below.

To shop for a list of these titles second-hand on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Christopher Fulbright

Christopher Fulbright is the author of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels of fantasy and horror. His short stories have appeared in many venues--webzines, magazines, and anthologies--since 1993. Fulbright received the Richard Laymon President's Award in 2008 from the HWA, and his short stories have received honorable mentions in "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror" and "Best Horror of the Year." He is a former journalist turned technical writer, an unrepentant horror fan, and owner/webmaster of Realms of Night.

View all posts by Christopher Fulbright →

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