Karl Edward Wagner created a truly unique character in Kane. Yes, that Cain (maybe, more or less, perhaps in a different world.) Death Angel’s Shadow collects three Kane novellas/stories.
Reflections for the Winter of My Soul is an excellent werewolf story. It is a massacre in an isolated chateau. It should be filmed by Neil Marshall as a sort of companion piece to Dog Solders. Being a Kane tale it is bloody, horrific, tragic, and even at times poignant.
Cold Light is a men on a mission story. Nine adventurers, each with a unique personality and background, are on a quest to hunt down Kane. It is a sort of Bizarro World Predator, with Kane cast in the eponymous role. It is solid adventure fare that ends on an ambiguous note. Whether the end is tragic or — uncharacteristically for a Kane yarn — hopeful, we don’t know.
Mirage. What happens when a vampire attempts to turn an immortal being into one of the undead? KEW shows us. Mirage is atmospheric, a sort of psychedelic evocation of Bram Stoker.
The Kane books and stories are a reminder of the shared heritage of Sword-and-Sorcery and Horror fiction. Wagner was masterful at both and with Kane skillfully weaves in whatever aspects he needs to tell the story. And with Kane, Wagner could remove any governor of ethics, morality, or heroism. Kane is a Luciferian character. Not in the sense of being diabolic, but in the “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” sense. He is utterly self-centered and amoral. He does not actively seek to do evil from some inner malevolence, he merely does not care if evil results from his actions or if evil effects are necessarily attendant to the pursuit of his goals. Inevitably carnage follows wherever Kane goes.
Before you go, why not pick up a copy of Thick As Thieves? Read it yourself, then use it as a Christmas present for one of your friends or relatives with a taste for S&S/crime fiction.