Several regular readers of this blog have been discussing Harold Lamb and his work, which prompted me to read something else by him. In the past I've read the novels DURANDEL and MARCHING SANDS and a few short stories, but it's been a while since I read anything else by Lamb. I started with one of his short novels, THE GRAND CHAM, which first appeared complete in the July 1, 1921 issue of the iconic pulp ADVENTURE.
If THE GRAND CHAM was a Fifties movie, it would be three hours long, have a cast of tens of thousands, and be directed by Cecil B. DeMille, that's how epic it is. As a novel, though, Lamb manages to pack a lot of story into a relatively short length. The characters are excellent. Michael Bearn is a dogged and stalwart protagonist, if a bit colorless. His sidekick, a former jester named Bembo, though, is great. Brave, funny, a little tragic, he really does a lot to liven up the story. The villains are properly despicable, and Lamb makes the historical character Tamerlane come alive.
I'll admit that I find Lamb's style a little dry at times, but there are still some fine scenes that make THE GRAND CHAM a good adventure yarn in the classic style. I definitely enjoyed it enough to read more by him, and next up is probably the short novel THE MAKING OF THE MORNING STAR, which is generally regarded as one of his best.