Blood of Enge; Blood of Ambrose

1. I don’t want you guys to think I’m the clumsiest biker in the world. But I did take another tumble the other day. The thing is, my newish bike has much tighter brakes than the throwaways I’ve been riding for years, and when I brake in a hurry I tend to clamp down with the hysterical grip that was required for significant slowing on my older machines and that causes a certain lack of stability which has, on a couple of occasions, led to road rash.

Sunday was one of those days; I was slowing down for a stop sign, realized belatedly I was going to have to brake a little harder, and that’s when the bleeding started.

One never feels suave at these moments; I got up, dusted myself off, reassured a passing motorist that I was okay, and looked up to see the Dean of Arts and Sciences at my university rushing toward me with a concerned look on his face. Apparently, destiny had decided to strike me to the earth right in front of his house. I convinced him and his wife that I was okay, talked for a few moments about the beneficial impact of terror and suffering on the cardio rate, and eventually pedalled off, reflecting on the cruel vagaries of life.

The thing is, if had been the old Dean I wouldn’t have minded much. We didn’t know each other that well, and I confess that I had no particular thirst for his esteem. The new Dean is a pretty cool guy–knows Latin, of course, as the cooler deans do, studied chemistry as an undergrad, switched to English literature (especially Ben Jonson) in graduate school, has published on a wide range of stuff (including popular culture), has been a very popular teacher (especially for his Shakespeare courses), and has played Sherlock Holmes on occasion in local community theater. None of this would count for much if he were a jerk, but he’s a very funny relatable guy.

Oh well. I didn’t actually bleed on him. Thus I console myself.

2. In other news, the floor is open for Joe Mallozzi’s book club discussion of Blood of Ambrose, possibly the best sword-and-sorcery novel about a fire-immune alcoholic with some obscure form of scoliosis published this year so far.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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11 Responses to Blood of Enge; Blood of Ambrose

  1. newguydave says:

    Take care of yourself on said new wheels, especially on steep downhills, provided there are any. Remember only the best dust themselves off and keep going, the rest cry and call for help (which I came close to a month or so ago).

    Congrats on # 2.

    Hopefully someday they’ll say the same for my half-daemek retired assassin hunted by his former guild.

    • JE says:

      Thanks! (And good wishes for your retired assassin, too.) Hills are one thing I don’t have to worry about around here: the town was built upon a former swamp, so hills are rarer than fantasy writers around here.

  2. brownkitty says:

    Too bad you can’t claim “was stricken by inspiration” instead of “adjusting to machinery” as the reason you’ve been meeting the pavement lately.

  3. davidcapeguy says:

    I totally forgot to post that I read & finished & very much enjoyed “Blood of Ambrose.” Good story, with characters I’d enjoy running into again. And your device of people’s selves being “eaten” from within creeped me out as few things have in recent years; well done! I found it all highly original, the only story I can think of to compare it to would be if Roger Zelazny had written a novel about the early years of Amber, when it was still a growing kingdom, fighting for survival.

    But in any event — I enjoyed your novel considerably, and am looking forward to the next.

    • JE says:

      Good to hear, thanks. I’m especially honored by the Zelazny comparison; he’s one of my heroes.

  4. I didn’t actually bleed on him. Thus I console myself.

    I can’t be the only one having an Animal House flashback to the “No, you threw up on Dean Wormer” moment.

    At least you weren’t on that patch of road that keeps causing you to collide with sacrificial mammals when you had your run-in with the Dean–the road might have claimed him, and your university would have been down one Latin-speaking administrator.

    • JE says:

      I’m not saying there aren’t administrators I wouldn’t bleed or even vomit on, if no snappier conversational gambits suggested themselves, but this guy isn’t one of them.

      “At least you weren’t on that patch of road that keeps causing you to collide with sacrificial mammals when you had your run-in with the Dean–the road might have claimed him, and your university would have been down one Latin-speaking administrator.”

      Yes, that would have been bad. Just last week we lost a Latinist as department chair (to retirement, I hasten to add), so losing the dean would have been especially troubling. And would have made for awkward moments at faculty events.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My introduction to tight front breaks came on our downhill driveway. My bike flipped, taking me with it. The seat (with the rest of the bike behind it) landed on my chest. And this wasn’t some sissy bike made of thin-walled aluminum. No, this was a bike made to be chained to a mobster and thrown into deep water. Fortunately, I had no audience, and I was just a weebabe, before my original exile from Minnesota, so there were no injuries.

    And really, I can’t be blamed. Before that first ten-speed, I’d only ridden regular bikes. You know; one speed, back pedal hard to brake. There was no such thing as easing down the brakes. I thought all stops involved skidding. It had never occurred to me that a front wheel could just *stop* like that.

    –Jeff Stehman

    • JE says:


      But this is just what my problem with technology usually is. As soon as I’ve adjusted to some inadequate technology, they go improving it on me. (I speak severely to my son about this occasionally, but he pretends it’s not his fault.)

  6. gabeguerrero says:

    Condolences on the bike mis-hap. I’ve had many instances where I tasted concrete at stop signs because I couldn’t get my foot out of the pedal lock. I doubt the motorists ignored it. I doubt they refrained from laughing.

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