The Horseclans Page
This here page is dedicated to the Horseclans novels, a series of 18 novels and two anthology collections by the late author Robert Adams (1932-1990) in the science-fantasy genre. His works are most noted for action, plenty of violence, a meticulous knowledge of things military, and occasional polemics from the conservative-libertarian region of the political graph. For a period of time after his death, all of his works have gone out of print, but Mundania press is currently republishing the Horseclans series (and the Magic in Ithkar anthology series as well). Additionally, if you are lucky, you can find them at used book stores.|
The Horseclans novels were published from 1975 until 1988. The novels are set in post-WWIII North America, and involve a number of elements which RA handled in an entertaining way. The novels, with their years of publication, are:
Additionally, Friends of the Horseclans (1987) and Friends of
the Horseclans II (1989), collections of short stories by RA and others, are unnumbered parts of the collected work. The quality of the anthology stories is not up to the level of the series by RA himself; to put it bluntly, some of them suck.
- The Coming of the Horseclans, 1975
- Swords of the Horseclans, 1976
- Revenge of the Horseclans, 1977
- A Cat of Silvery Hue, 1979
- The Savage Mountains, 1979
- The Patrimony, 1980
- Horseclans Odyssey, 1981
- The Death of a Legend, 1981
- The Witch Goddess, 1982
- Bili the Axe, 1982
- Champion of the Last Battle, 1983
- A Woman of the Horseclans, 1983
- Horses of the North, 1985
- A Man Called Milo Morai, 1986
- The Memories of Milo Morai, 1986
- Trumpets of War, 1987
- Madman's Army, 1987
- The Clan of the Cats, 1988
Robert Adams had plans for a whole lot more books; the series is very open-ended with room for tons of stories; in the introduction to Friends of the Horseclans, he said that the number of loose threads left in the series would take him about fifty years to resolve, which was one of the reasons for letting other authors in on the series. I was very disappointed to learn of his death. Pamela Crippen Adams recognizes the need to get the series moving again, but also has school and family involvement taking up her time. I'm not prepared to hand out her contact info at this time, so please don't ask. Extending the series would not involve a great burden on one individual; one person can flesh out the timeline and enforce continuity, while others work within the the framework thus established.
Finding the books
As you can read above, you can buy the first one from Mundania Press LLC, and wait around for them to get the rest of them printed.
Or, you can go to www.google.com, and search based on the phrase horseclans. A whole heap of sites will come up. Many of them will be on-line used bookstores.
If none of them are any help, go to a brick-and-mortar used book store.
If you're still stuck, go to a garage sale.
That's all I can do for you.
The Horseclans novels are set in Post-Holocaust America. In Robert Adams' alternate history, World War Three takes place after a period of growing corruption, lawlessness, and contraction of civil liberties. There follows a brief period of a year or two wherein 99.99% of the human race perishes from disease, warfare, famine, etc., a longer drawn-out period wherein the remaining lights of civilization gradually wink out, and a centuries-long period where civilization gradually reforms, with input from some WWIII survivors. The novels are set at varying points in this alternate history, and from time to time include flashbacks to times prior to WWIII.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Good: Robert Adams was a history buff, a military buff, and a military history buff, and speaks with authority on these subjects. The plotting of the novels is centered around action, and RA appears to have sketched out much of the alt-history prior to committing to any course of events, so that there are few if any inconsistencies in the Horseclans cosmos. Robert Adams' style is a well-chosen mix of simple, direct descriptive prose and baroquely-constructed sentences with one clause piled on top of another. I like a style that challenges me every once in a while, enjoy Victor Hugo especially, and grammar checkers tend to inform me that my sentences are too long, so this latter habit of Adams' is not bothersome to me.
The Bad: From time to time RA stops to lecture the reader about this and that. Sometimes the lecture makes the action more easily understandable, but sometimes the events seem contrived to give RA an excuse for pontificating. Many of the polemics are on views which are not considered controversial in the mainstream (like the iniquities of Nazism), rendering them even more pointless than would otherwise be the case. Once in a while there are cases of bad guys standing around while the good guys lecture them, and even when the reader agrees with the content of the polemics they still get tedious. The ironic thing about the polemics is the introductory paragraph in the first novel, in which RA deprecated this very sort of thing.
He also had a tendancy to trowel on the foreshadowing.
The Ugly: If you aren't into graphic violence, the Horseclans series is definitely not for you. I can't count the number of different way people get killed in this series. Also, RA appears to have shared most of Hollywood's opinions about Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity, so if you object to the way Hollywood depicts Christians, you won't like the way RA generally portrays them, either.
The Sex: Robert Adams appears to have suffered from the Heinlein Effect: The sex became more prominent and more explicit as the series wore on (it was also more noticeable in his other series as well). In the earlier works, the fact that so-and-so are going to bed is made clear, but the action isn't described. In later books, the foreplay gets a bit of attention, and sometimes the reader is led to know exactly which sexual act is taking place. Whatever sex takes place has some connection to the events surrounding the bedroom scene, so it is never entirely gratuitous. Considering one of his prior occupations, even the smuttiest parts of the series are restrained.
The timeline of the series does not strictly follow the order of the series' publication, although there are times when the series sticks with the flow of the events for three or four books before going to another point in history. Several of the books consist mostly of flashbacks to earlier eras, including events prior to WWIII and even pre-WWII times. With few exceptions, no specific dates are given for events in the alternate history, although from time to time RA gives clues that allow reasonably certain dates to be calculated. The action appears to proceed along the following lines:
- 1980: WWIII. The aftermath, and dwindling of the remnants of civilization, continue for decades. Over the course of the next fifty years, Milo Morai develops the Horseclans people and leads them from being bomb-shelter refugees through a stage of subsistence farming, leading eventually to self-sufficient nomadism. Milo encounters Clarence Bookerman. (Horses of the North)
- ~2030: Morai and Bookerman, after a dispute over the merits of Nazism, part. Bookerman gives Morai advice that enables him to awaken his latent mental talents. (Horses of the North) Bookerman wanders throughout the former United States, travels to Europe, and there, believing the former US eastern seaboard to be mostly uninhabited, initiates the two Ehleenee invasions.
- The Horseclans later encounter and ally with the prariecats (The Clan of the Cats), and acquire the ability to communicate telepathically with their horses (Horses of the North).
- The Horseclans develop into their final plains-dwelling form. During this period the events of A Man Called Milo Morai, The Memories of Milo Morai, and A Woman of the Horseclans take place.
- ~2370: Morai leaves the clansmen in order to find a rumored settlement of Undying.
- ~2570: After two centuries of searching world-wide, Morai concludes that there is no community of Undying anywhere on earth. He returns to the Horseclans, and finding them living as he had left them, leads them on their prophesized migration to Ehlai. (The Coming of the Horseclans)
- The clans cross the Mississippi river. (Horseclans Odyssey)
- 2593: The political merging of the Horseclans with Kehnooryos Ehlas is completed, creating the Confederation. (The Coming of the Horseclans)
- Blind Hari Krooger, tribal bard for decades, departs the Confederation to live again on the Sea of Grass. He takes many of the prarie cats with him. While travelling, he encounters the Teenehdjook, who overcome their customary distrust of humans and help him, and in turn he awakens their powerful mental abilities.
- ~2633: A Witchman, taking control of High Lord Zastros of the Southern Kingdom, leads a massive army against the Confederation. The army is defeated, Zastros and the Witchman controlling him are slain, and the dukes of the Southern Kingdom agree to join the Confederation. The rampant corruption of the Ehleenoee Church is laid bare, and the High Lord of the Confederation breaks up its control. (Swords of the Horseclans)
- The dukes of the southern kingdom work to rebuild their duchies. (Trumpets of War)
- Another Witchman, in the body of a young Ehleenee man, gains control of the aging commander of the Southern Kingdom army, and through him almost brings the duchies to revolt. The commander is slain and the Witchman is forced to return to the Witch Kingdom. (Madman's Army)
- ~2949: The Great Ehleenee Rebellion: Witchmen infiltrate the Ehleenee Church and through it cause an uprising. The uprising is put down. (Revenge of the Horseclans, A Cat of Silvery Hue, The Savage Mountains)
- ~2950: The Witchmen foment discord between the Ahrmehnee and the Confederation, prompting the latter to invade. After consulting the Silver Lady, the Nakharah (chief) of the Ahrmehnee learns that warring against the Confederation will result in the virtual extirpation of the Ahrmehnee race. He wisely merges the Ahrmehnee stahn with the Confederation. According to the Silver Lady, this happens about 12000 moons (~970 years) after WWIII. (The Savage Mountains)
- Bili Morguhn and his mixed force of Confederation nobles and Freefighters, still in Ahrmehnee lands at the end of the brief war between the stahn and the Confederation, are cut off from the Confederation by a massive volcanic eruption caused by the Witchmen's meddling. They encounter and ally themselves with the Moon Maidens and some Ahrmehnee. They are then approached by the Kleesahks representing Prince Byruhn of New Kuhmbuhluhn, and soldier on his behalf, defeating bands of Muhkohee raiders and immigrating Skoshuhns. The Skoshuns and Kuhmbuhluners form a political union—a republic—with a Kleesahk as one of their chief advisors. (The Death of a Legend, The Witch Goddess, Bili the Axe, Champion of the Last Battle)
- ~2980: The widow of the duke of Sanderz-Vawn tries to murder her stepson in order to have her son installed in his place. The plan is thwarted, and the stepson and his sister are found to be Undying. (The Patrimony)
- ~3030: Bili Morguhn, Prince of Karaleenos, gets the bad end of an encounter with a bear while hunting. He lingers for several weeks, during which he re-lives the memories of his youth, and then dies. (The Death of a Legend, The Witch Goddess, Bili the Axe, Champion of the Last Battle)
Kingdoms and Peoples
are descended from the Armenian-American community in the Washington, D.C. region. They established a sovereign state of their own during the aftermath of WWIII, which kingdom had a period of great prosperity, then decadence and collapse. They were subsequently pushed into the Appalachians by the Ehleenee incursions. Their presence in the series is the result of RA's great respect for the Armenian people.
is the result of the Horseclans invasion of Kehnooryos Ehlas in the first book of the series. Originally intent on taking territory for the Horseclans, Milo Morai discovers the Ehleenee High Lord to be an Undying, and instead they arrange for a political merger. Later the Southern Kingdom, after a disastrous attempt to conquer the Confederacy, merges with it instead. The Confederacy later gains the Grand Duchy of Kumbuhluhn as a member state, along with Karaleenos, the Isles of the Sea Lords and later still the Ahrmehnee territory. To make sure that the Confederation is less vulnerable to ethnic discord, Milo Morai purposefully encourages the mixture of the differing ethnic groups within the Confederation, and discourages the formation of political movements that strive for any concept of racial purity. He is also keeping technological progress between extremes, kicking it to run more quickly when innovation slows, but inhibiting the premature introduction of 20th-century inventions. At the end of the timeline in the series, the Confederation is comprised of over six hundred duchies, grouped into one hundred archduchies and a number of principalities. The duchies themselves are divided into counties of various size. There are vague hints that at some point in the future the Confederation will be cease to exist as a political unit due to some kind of disaster, with a second Confederation possibly being established on the West Coast, but if this is the case it is at a point in time far later than the events in any of the novels.
are a group of Greek-speaking peoples that colonized the eastern coast of North America in two separate landings, led by Clarence Bookerman. Initially a very martial people in the Homeric tradition, over time they (especially the nobility) became decadent, depraved, and corrupt, although a minority of Ehleenee maintain the old virtues. The Northern Ehleenee have one kingdom, known as Kehnooryos Mahkedohnya (New Macedon, located in the New England area), while the Southern Ehleenee dwell in several kingdoms, known as Kehnooryos Ehlas (New Greece), Karaleenos (probably the Carolinas), and the Southern Kingdom (Georgia and Alabama).
are the main mercenary forces in the Horseclans novels, deriving their names from the fact that unless they are already under contract, the are free to be hired by anyone with enough cash to pay them. Most of them are gentlemen or commoners of the Northern Kingdoms. Many of them are initiates of the Sword Cult.
also known as Muhkohee, are the descendants of some flower children who have converted the environmentalist viewpoint into a religion. They are divided into pacifist farmers and the thugs who prey on the pacifist farmers (and everyone else). They are depicted as savages, with cannibalism, incest, and mental instability being common. Evidently Robert Adams didn't like hippies very much.
also known as the Kindred, are a tribe of nomads descended from some teenagers that Milo Morai adopted shortly after WWIII. As a rule the Kindred are lightly complected, small in stature and light in frame, have strong mindspeak, and are experts in archery and horsemanship. Their language is the Horseclans dialect of Mehrikan (American English). After a few centuries of guiding the Horseclans, Milo Morai left them and travelled the world, searching for a reputed enclave of Undying. After two centuries of fruitless searching, he returned to find the Horseclans essentially the same as when he had left them, and led them to the east coast of the former United States of America to establish a promised realm there.
are a race of hominids who are real instances of the Sasquatch/Bigfoot legend. Powerfully telepathic, they are associated with the Ganiks, and are often called such. The Kleesahks are actually a hybrid of human Ganiks with a hominid species known as the Teenehdjook; when the Kleesahks are first encountered by Bili, their leader is unaware of any extant pure-blood Teenehdjook. The Kleesahks are sometimes sterile, otherwise they are able to interbreed with humans.
The Middle Kingdoms
also known as the Burkers or the Northern Barbarians, are descendants of US citizens who survived WWIII. They occupy what seems to be the Pennsylvania area. There are several Burk kingdoms, including Pitzburk, Harzburk, Getzburk, etc. The Burkers are always fighting among themselves, which is the only thing keeping them from overrunning the entire continent...
The Moon Maidens
are a sub-group of Ahrmehnee who occupy a hold in a volcanic valley bordering on the main Ahrmehnee territory. Their society is a strict matriarchy (ruled by a Council of Grandmothers), in which men have been reduced to slavery. The women are either lesbian or celibate, having carnal relations with men only for reproductive purposes. After the Witchmen loot their hold and trigger a volcanic eruption that utterly destroys their entire valley, the Silver Lady instructs the Maidens to abandon both their lesbian and matriarchical ways, and marry into a group of Freefighters and Confederation soldiers that they encounter.
are the successful result of a 20th-century program to recreate the sabre-toothed tiger. They are strongly telepathic, and as a result are allied with the Horseclans.
The Sea Lords
are the descendants of a faction of Ehleens who, after coming out on the losing side of a civil war, took ship for the Bermudas and established a community from which they raid the Eastern Seaboard.
are a group of human beings who are able to regenerate quickly from almost all injury, are immune to all diseases, and after a certain point in adulthood do not age at all. There are several known ways to kill them, but an Undying that is careful can avoid them and in theory live forever. The only other drawbacks to the Undying life are sterility (see Miscellaneous Information below), and the various effects of immortality on social relations with normal humans. During the novels that are set in the time frame of the Confederacy's existence, Undying are offered the position of High Lord or High Lady of the Confederacy, with the exception of Clarence Bookerman. All known Undying are of the Homo sapiens species, which is odd considering that animals outnumber humans by a few orders of magnitude, and also that the relative complexity of the human body would make it the least likely candidate for biological immortality.
are a group of 20th-century humans who have managed to extend their lifespans by transferring their minds to young, healthy bodies as their current bodies grow old. They possess much of the knowledge that was lost in WWIII, but lack an industrial base of sufficient size to fully capitalize on this advantage. They are behind much of the political trouble that Milo faces throughout the series.
are the descendants of African-Americans who occupy a group of sovereign states called the Black Kingdoms that appear to be located in the Baltimore-Philadelphia-New York region. None of the military action in the book involves the Black Kingdoms, and the narrative suggests that none of the rulers of the Black Kingdoms have any apparent interest in ruling non-black peoples, or vice-versa. In the series medicine is practiced by a guild of Zartogahn physicians, and with one exception all of the Zartogahns encountered are members of the Physicians' Guild. They speak one or more daughter tongues of Arabic and are practicing Muslims.
Throughout the Horseclans novels there are several religions that spring up. Some are descended from modern-day religions, while others are innovations by Robert Adams.
The Blue Lady
is a religion of the Northern Kingdoms. Its tenets and practices are left undescribed, except that the worshippers are all women. It is a derivative of Catholic mariolatry.
The Ehleenee Church
is the descendant of the Greek Orthodox Church. Robert Adams portrays them in a manner not too different from the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, both in the degree of corruption and the extent of political involvement. In Swords of the Horseclans and Madman's Army there are positive portrayals of Ehleen clergy, but for the most part they are presented as hypocrites, ideologues, fanatics, etc. Due to the rampant corruption in the Church, it is bereft of much of its secular holdings at the end of Swords of the Horseclans; the discontent this causes in the clergy makes them manipulable by the Witch Kingdom, which foments the Great Ehleenee Rebellion, using the Ehleenee Christians as tools. After the rebellion is put down the Ehleenee Church is outlawed.
is represented by the Zartohgahns, and especially by their guild of physicians. Robert Adams presents Muslims either neutrally or positively, but appears to know nothing about Islam beyond what is portrayed in popular media. Except for the jihad and the prohibition against alcoholic beverages, none of the tenets pertaining to Islam are mentioned in the novels, not even Ramadan or the five daily prayers, which are not trivial omissions by any means!
is the religion (and way of life) practised by the Ganiks. It is 20th-century environmentalism taken to the extreme. Devout Ganiks do not bathe, eat the flesh of any warm-blooded animal (except humans), forge metal, etc.
still survives in post-WWIII America, due to the large number of antebellum adherents, as well as a disproportionately high survival rate among some fringe sects. RA had a severe bias against Protestant Christianity; its spokesmen are never portrayed positively, and followers only when they are skeptical.
The Silver Lady
is the religion of the Ahrmehnee, including the Moon Maidens. The usual ceremonies involve raising the celebrant to an ecstatic vision, usually through the use of drugs; the celebrant (whether male or female) experiences carnal relations with the Lady, and then receives guidance from her. A lapse in the worship of the Silver Lady is given as the fundamental cause of the downfall of the original Ahrmehnee kingdom. In the novels the Silver Lady is an actual being of some sort, and claims to be a manifestation of the deity of all true religions (in which group Adams includes Islam and excludes Christianity). She is able to show the celebrant visions of the past, other places, and possible futures, depending on the choices taken by the viewer.
A correspondant informs me that the worship of the Silver Lady is also a derivation of the veneration of Mary; a bit of artistic license is involved here, as the Armenian church presently does not venerate Mary, and even if it did, going from present-day Mariolatry to the depicted form of worship is a greater leap than fifty generations of cultural evolution can naturally bring about. The pre-Christian rites practised by Armenians did resemble the Silver Lady cult to some degree, although Adams was not aware of this when developing the concept.
Sun and Wind
are revered by the Horseclans. Aside from cremation of the dead and a few expletives peculiar to the faith, there are no rituals associated with this reverence.
The Sword Cult
is the chief religion of the Northern Kingdoms, and especially of the Freefighters (a self-governing body of professional mercenaries). The cult is organized into lodges, enshrouds many of its practices in secrecy, and enforces a strict code of honor for its adherents.
Individuals of Note
- Clarence Bookerman was the first Undying encountered by Milo Morai in his travels. The only clue as to Bookerman's age is given in his autobiography in Horses of the North, which is vague on this point; the only two certainties are that it was after gunpowder came into common use in European warfare, and his lack of natural aging made it necessary for him to fake his own death and start a new life sometime prior to the French Revolution. Since Milo does not remember his own age or date of birth—he was robbed of his memory by a head injury in 1937—he may or may not be older than Bookerman. Bookerman was an ardent supporter of Naziism, and it was his continued sympathy towards its racial theories, and especially his desire to apply them to the Horseclans, that cause his division with Milo. He appears in Horses of the North and Madman's Army. When he and Milo meet in the latter novel, they do so on friendly terms, with no mention of the cause of their split.
- Drehkos Daiviz is an Undying of around fifty years apparent age. During the Great Ehleenee Rebellion he betrays his brother Hari in order to seize his property. He becomes leader of the rebellion, and after resisting a seige long enough to gain amnesty for most of his followers, is discovered to be an Undying. Shortly afterwards he becomes reconciled with his brother.
- Adolph Hitler was, according to Clarence Bookerman, an Undying as well, but Bookerman sincerely believed him to have died. Bookerman knows that a bullet to the head won't kill an Undying, and says that an injection to stop the lungs was also adminstered to him; he appears unaware (or perhaps misremembered) historical accounts that Hitler took cyanide before shooting himself, and it is credible that a sufficient dose of cyanide will kill an Undying. It is reasonable to conclude that someone with Hitler's talents and temperament would not have been able to keep himself out of the public spotlight for the entire duration of the Cold War, so his death within the narrative can be reasonably accepted.
- Kahndoot is one of the Moon Maidens that is with Bili's force in New Kuhmbuhluhn, but had no lover at the time of their meeting. It is heavily foreshadowed that she will take up with Geros Lahvoheetos and have at least one child with him. In the sixth book Geros appears to be raising his daughter on his own; Kahndoot certainly would have been involved in the action if she were alive and around at the time, so the relationship ends for some reason; she doesn't strike me as the type who would abandon a loyal husband (and Geros is nothing if not loyal!), so she is likely dead at this time (possibly during the daughter's birth—Moon Maidens tend to have difficult childbirths).
- Geros Lahvoheetos is a gentleman's servant in the third novel of the series. By accident he slays a few rebels in the earliest skirmishes of the Ehleenee Rebellion, and then later becomes a Freefighter, and earns a Silver Cat from a feat of extreme personal courage. It is heavily foreshadowed that he eventually marries the Moon Maiden named Kahndoot. Later in life, apparently twice a widower, and with one daughter, he enters into the employ of the thoeeks of Sanderz-Vawn, and participates in the defeat of an attempted coup. A passage in The Patrimony states that in addition to his daughter, Geros had two sons and a stepson as well, all three having died by the time of that book. Since it is apparent that the Geros-Kahndoot affair was the first real relationship for either of them, and given what we know about their character, Kahndoot appears to have died, either during the bearing of their daughter or at some point thereafter, and at some point after this Geros re-married at least once; the stepson is certainly the son of a later wife by a prior husband, but the sons could have been from any of Geros' marriages. The correspondence I have received indicates that Geros is the most popular character in the series, being the one that most readers can identify with.
- Neeka Mahreemahdees is from Kehnooryos Mahkedohnya; before she is discovered to be Undying she takes part in a unsuccessful coup attempt in the Duchy of Sanderz-Vawn. Like the Sanderzes, she appears in little of the action outside of the sixth book. At the end of the sixth book it is revealed that the Witchmen have planted some kind of psychological surprises in her subconscious, but elsewhere it is stated that this was easily found by Morai et al. and neutralized.
- Meree is Rahksahanah's lover when they encounter Bili Morguhn's force at the end of the Armehnee invasions. She becomes insanely jealous when Rahksahnah, at the direction of the Silver Lady, severs their relationship and becomes Bili's lover. She gets into a duel with Kahndoot, which Bili brings to an end by crippling Meree. Some time afterwards she kills Rahksahnah, and is in turn killed by Gy Ynstyn.
- Mara Morai is an Ehleena born around 2293, and always looks to be in her early twenties. She meets and marries Milo in the first book of the series, and becomes High Lady of the Confederation. She is featured prominently in the first two books of the series and in very little of the action thereafter. There is a division of labor between her and Milo; she is the chief civil administrator of the Confederation, whereas Milo devotes most of his time to the Confederacy's military affairs.
- Milo Morai (also spelled Moray) is the central character in the Horseclans novels. He appears as a tall man of around forty years age, with slightly greying black hair and a medium complexion. His memory stretches back to 1936 in our era, when he suffered a knock on the head that robbed him of much of his memory; however at that time he appeared to be just as old, spoke a few dozen different languages fluently, had competency in a broad array of both modern and antiquated military skills, and was moderately—and secretly—wealthy, so it is likely that he was born well before 1900. He served in World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, and is later an operative for a faction that tries to avert the destruction of the United States, prior to WWIII. He becomes the High Lord of the Horseclans Confederacy after its establishment. There are suggestions in the first novel that Milo will live far longer than he has already lived (which for an Undying is not to be surprised at), which leaves room for over a millenium of history after the last events in the series. Milo, to the greatest degree of any protagonist in the novels, seems to be Robert Adams' idealized version of himself, and is the most frequent mouthpiece for RA's polemics.
- Bili Morguhn is the thoeeks of Morguhn in the third novel of the series, and is a character of greater or lesser importance in eight of the novels. After being born in the duchy of Morguhn, he spends his adolescence in the court of the King of Harzburk, where he became a warrior of exceptional skill. After returning home upon his father's death, he put down the Great Ehleenee Rebellion in his duchy, and then participated in the seige of Vawn. After the seige of Vawn he leads one contingent of troops in the Ahrmehnee invasion. They encounter a group of Ahrmehnee tribesmen and a group of Moon Maidens; Bili and Raksahnah, the leader of the Moon Maidens, fall in love, eventually having three children. He is approached by the Prince of New Kuhmbuhluhn, and after campaigning on the behalf of that state, reorganizes it as a republic and returns to the Confederation; during this return trip Raksahnah is murdered by her former lover. He later becomes arkeethoeeks (archduke) of the region of which the duchy of Morguhn is a part, and then later Prince of Karaleenos. In his old age he is mortally wounded by a bear during a hunting trip; he lingers for a while, and has memory flashbacks in which several of the novels are set.
- Pah-Elmuh is the leader of the Kleesahks. He has extremely powerful mental abilities, including the power to activate the mind of an injured person to accelerate the healing process, a faculty he uses frequently and often in the books in which he appears. However, he is unable to heal Meree, and explains that Meree's unreasoning hatred of Bili Morguhn is the cause of this.
- Rahksahnah is the last leader of the Moon Maidens. She encounters Bili Morguhn in the mountains after the Armehnee campaign. They fall in love, have three children, and just as Bili is leading his force back to the Confederation, she is murdered by her former lover.
- Giliahna Sanderz is the daughter of the thoeeks of Sanderz-Vawn and the widow of the Thoeeks of Morguhn. After an incestuous liason with her brother comes to light, her father arranges for her to marry the Prince of Kuhmbuhluhn. After the prince dies, she returns home to play a minor role in the attempted Sanderz-Vawn coup; a major figure attempts to murder her after the coup is defeated, but the attempt fails because she is an Undying.
- Tim Sanderz is the son of the thoeeks of Sanderz-Vawn. After his dalliance with his sister Giliahna, he is sent to work as a mercenary in the Northern kingdoms. He returns at the time of his father's death, and leads the effort to defeat the Sanderz-Vawn coup. At the end of the coup he falsely believes Giliahna to be dead, and attempts suicide, only to learn that he is also an Undying. Very little of the series is set after this point in time, and so not much else is seen of either Tim or Giliahna.
- David Sternheimer is the leader of the Witchmen, who occupy a region known as the Witch Kingdom, located apparently along the Georgia-Florida border.
- Aldora Linszee Trea-Potomas, an Ehleena born around 2582, appears in the first Horseclans novel and most of them afterwards. She married Demetrios Trea-Potomas between the first and second novels, but when he reverted to his old (homophile) ways she separated from him. In the later novels she departs the Confederacy for the Pirate Isles, but returns prior to the events in Revenge of the Horseclans, in which she falls in love with Bili Morguhn. Although she is fairly promiscuous throughout the series, there is a prophecy that states that she will not know happiness until she has crossed "many salty seas." She appears to be an Ehleena around twenty-five.
- Demetrios Trea-Potomas is the High Lord of Kehnooryos Ehlas (New Greece) in the first novel. He begins as the basic Nero-type despot in the first novel, undergoes a brief period of decency at the end of this book, and then reverts back to his old self between the first and second novels. On his death the books are inconsistent; in Swords of the Horseclans he drowns in a battle in the opening chapter, and High Lady Mara declares that his body had been recovered from the river into which he fell; in Madman's Army, Milo says that some of his armor, and what may have been his skull, were found, leaving the possibility that he is still alive somewhere.
- Gy Ynstyn is the bugler and aide for Bili Morguhn. When the Moon Maidens abandon their lesbian tradition and marry into Bili's force, Gy is chosen by Meree, the former lover of the Moon Maiden who chooses Bili, but Meree never copes with losing Rahksahnah and never returns Gy's affection. To stop her from killing Bili, Gy is forced to kill her.
Mindspeak is the term applied in the series to the entire range of telepathic abilities. Mindspeak is highly regarded in some cultures, and in others it is regarded with fear. The abilities employed in the series include:
- Mindspeak, when not referring to the entirety of telepathic powers, refers to direct mind-to-mind communication. It is the most frequently used power in the series, and in fact is used at some point or another in each of the novels. In the series, prariecats, horses, donkeys, killer whales, several species of mustelids, and both humanoid species are known to have mindspeak of greater or lesser degree.
- Farspeak is the ability to speak telepathically over long distances. Milo Morai is considered to have weak farspeak ability, but is able to communicate up to ten miles.
- Mind reading is available to virtually everyone with mindspeak ability.
- Mind shield is the ability to block a mind reading attempt. A mindshield can be pierced against the will of the target person, but it takes a mind far more powerful than the target to accomplish this. Although a few individuals without mindspeak ability are taught how to erect mindshields, as a general rule people without mindspeak are easily read by mindspeakers of even minimal power. Attempting to read a shielded mind is described as like running head-first into a brick wall.
- Fargather is the ability to detect nearby minds without any sensory assistance. It is an exceptionally rare talent.
- Illusionism is the ability to cause another person to experience illusions that appear to be fully real to all five senses. Only a few people exhibit this ability in the series.
- Merging allows two beings to merge their minds to a degree, allowing one to employ the telepathic abilities of another, or to experience what the other is seeing, feeling, etc.
- Healing operates on the theory that the mind has greater control over the body than is generally believed, so that a properly-influenced mind can control and accelerate the healing processes. Only the Kleesahks exhibit this power during the series.
I'm told that there is a GURPS supplement out for the Horseclans cosmos, authored with the complete cooperation and great assistance of Robert Adams himself; consequently the contents can be considered canonical. If I come across it, I'll flesh out the info here with what's in there. Please don't offer to send me the info, or sell, loan, or give me your copy; this project is on the back burner for now.
The Future of the Horseclans Series
Robert Adams had planned for a total of "about thirty" books in the series (not including the various Friends of the Horseclans anthologies). Specifically:
This would bring up the book count to 26 books, and with only about thirty planned, it seems that either his estimate of thirty was an undercount, or he planned to wrap up the whole series in a mere four books; I suspect the former. Then again, it's possible that he planned to farm out the job of fleshing out the series to the anthologies.
- The 19th book of the series was to be set immediately upon the heels of Clan of the Cats, continuing the action there.
- There were plans to kick out at least two more books centered around Bili Morguhn. The storyline in Bili's flashbacks-on-the-deathbed novels (Death of a Legend through Champion of the Last Battle) was resolved with relative finality, at least as far as Bili was concerned, so these novels would likely have been set in his later adulthood, either during his reign as archduke or later as prince of Karaleenos; there are seven decades of open space to fill in.
- Geros Lahvoheetos was also supposed to get a pair of books centered mostly around him, with Bili Morguhn as a peripheral character. His heavily-foreshadowed relationship with Kahndoot merits serious attention, and the ending of that relationship also seems worth a couple hundred pages of prose as well.
- The story at the end of Madman's Army was going to get a couple books' worth of attention, and a third one with a more tenuous relationship.
Pamela Crippen Adams, as I mentioned above, recognizes the need to get the series going again, but has had significant demands on her time.
- One correspondent, who lived down the street from RA while he resided in Virginia, informs me that RA wrote pornography to make a living before the Horsclans series became popular.
- This same informant tells me that RA was overweight.
- Another correspondent attended a convention at which RA made an appearance, and affirms items one and two.
- Yet another correspondent reports that in a taped interview, RA let on some of the planned developments in the series. Apparently, Undying can have children—Tim and Giliahna Sanderz were to have some—but only with other Undying. The fact that Milo was unable to sire offspring (with either Mara or Neeka) was to be explained by revealing that Milo was an extraterrestrial, and therefore unable to have children with Terrans, either Undying or normal. I am informed that this appears to conflict with the introduction to Friends of the Horseclans II.
- Still another correspondent reported hearing several years ago that the rights to Robert Adams' intellectual property, and the Horseclans series in particular, were tied up in litigation, which would explain why a series with three million copies in print has never been reprinted. However, Pamela Crippen Adams denies being aware of any legal disputes involving the intellectual property. I'm fairly sure that she would know of any legal troubles, if it were the case, and in any event the series is now being republished.
- Gary Lind-Sinanian was able to provide me a great deal of insight on RA's creative process concerning the Armenian characters in his novels. Go see Gary's site—he is curator of the Armenian Library and Museum of America.
- It is apparently the case that when an ethnic group is politically divided, each leader within that group considers unifying the group (under himself) as his first priority, with conquest of those outside the the group seen as a later project. We saw this in Adolph Hitler, see it in many Arab and Muslim leaders, and it shows up in the Horseclans series as well, with the Ehlenee, the Burkers, and the Zartogahns devoting more energy to intramural disuputes than to any external enemies.