The Hammer & The Goat: Guest blog from Peter Newman

The Hammer and the Goat Stories are strange things. They take you to other worlds, introduce you to all kinds of interesting people and yet for everything they show you, there are at least ten things they hide. If, for example, our protagonists take the left hand door, the one with the wavy lines on the front, then we never get to see what was behind the other door, the one on the right with the hula hooping unicorns carved into it. Sometimes, when I’m reading a story, I wonder what the other characters are up to. Where exactly does Gandalf go when he leaves Frodo to continue alone? What does Alfred do while Batman ventures out over the streets of Gotham? What is Raistlin* up to AT ALL TIMES? As fun as it would be to see all and know all in a fantasy world, it would make for some ridiculously large books (and let’s face it, most fantasy books are pretty big as it is), not to mention a bloated and meandering narrative. And yet I still find myself curious. Yes,

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I appreciate that sometimes it is better to not know. Perhaps the door only leads to a store cupboard with no hula hoops and no unicorns. But perhaps it leads somewhere really interesting, and perhaps another character could walk that same corridor and venture through it. Perhaps that would be a wonderful thing. Perhaps we could spend some quality time with Alfred the butler, learning something of his past, of his relationships outside Wayne Manor, things that might cast his interactions with Bruce Wayne in a new light. In my own books I have a lot of love for The Hammer that Walks and, despite myself, the goat. But The Vagrant isn’t their story (sorry goat fans). They have their parts to play but ultimately it’s about the Vagrant himself, the baby, the Malice, and their journey to the Shining City. So when Harper Voyager asked me to write a short story set in The Vagrant’s world I was delighted because it allowed me to make a story purely about the other characters, where it is the Vagrant that goes away out of sight, leaving them in the spotlight. The Hammer and the Goat is set parallel to events in The Vagrant and though you don’t have to, it’s best enjoyed if you’ve read the novel first. Expect more demons, half-breeds, some of humanity’s worst, some weirdness, some action, and of course, a very bad tempered goat. The Hammer and the Goat, by Peter Newman, is out on 20th October and is available to pre-order now.   *The hourglass eyed, gold skinned wizard from Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance books.

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