Blog Theme Song: Adam and the Ants, Kings of the Wild Frontier

Man Raised by Spiders is a fantasy novel. To read it in order, start with the oldest post (1. The Sun Has Its Own Scent) and move forward. All of the posts are on the home page, so just scroll all the way down, and work your way up.

The story is a captivity narrative that begins when the hero, Valentine, escapes from lifelong slavery at the hands of a brutal, barbaric tribe, and has to learn his own people’s language, customs and table manners as a young adult. There’s spying, combat and crime, and occasionally the characters crack anachronistic jokes (the phrase “cheap Harbor Freight dick” first enters literature when Valentine gets unsolicited dating advice from his worldly half-Drow cousin, Inglorion). In the course of a year, Valentine loses his virginity, forms and breaks two engagements, is recruited as a spy, and stumbles onto an inheritance. More importantly, he finds out why he was orphaned and enslaved, and starts to pass as a wealthy, civilized man.

The characters in Man Raised by Spiders come from rival elf tribes — the gray elves (Roman names, British and Athenian culture) and the Drow (Greek names, a mix of Great Plains Indian and Spartan). The setting looks a lot like the English Regency — a world of elegance and inequality, where dueling is common, and a real man can box bare-knuckled in the afternoon, then dress for dinner in an ornately embroidered waistcoat and fitted dinner jacket.

Of course, elves are an allegory — a way of thinking through how we survive loss and confront evil. I enjoyed creating characters who are as tragic, flawed, funny and cool as the 21st-century human beings I know, but who happen to live a heightened, Romantic existence.

If you like Man Raised by Spiders, you may enjoy the sequel, The Biography of Inglorion Atropos Androktasiai, Marquis Theates. As with Man Raised by Spiders, start with the first post, 1. Early Years.