The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy (2013, ProSe)
The Bone Queen is the first novel by Andrea Judy. It follows the adventures of a female sword-swinger as she chops her way across ancient France. Set in some kind of alternate universe, The Bone Queen is a good novel from a first-time author. A little short at 97 pages, but decent for an opener.
The Bone Queen is an “origin” book. The character was introduced in an earlier Pulptress story, which I haven’t had the opportunity to read. In this tale, we follow Renata and her companions across plague-ravished France where the dead keep rising to kill the living. It’s up to the followers of Mene, the goddess of death, to put them back down. When prayers and spells aren’t strong enough, the sword serves as back-up. The ending is a bit of a downer, but I’d suspected the direction it was headed since the lead character was going to turn out to be one of the bad guys.
There’s not a lot of back story in this book. We find out early into the adventure that Renata was rescued from her mother’s corpse and dedicated into the service of Mene. The temple they served was over-run by the Living Dead. Her companions have been led by the goddess herself to the source of the plague: a necromancer living in a castle by the sea. To stop the plague and the zombies they have to defeat the necromancer.
And here we have the whole problem with “new pulp”: it’s a side-project for most of its proponents. The old pulp writers were cranking out wordage for an eager public. The new pulp writers and knocking out stories for themselves and their friends. This might create some enthusiastic stories, but it tends toward amateur ones as well. I see too many wannabee pulp writers talking about what they are going to write. Sit down and start cranking out some books! You want an example? Check out what K. W. Jeter, a real professional, has accomplished with his Kim Oh novels.