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The Road to Hostigos

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Here you will learn more about Lord Kalvan, his world and how it came into being. Also you can find out more about the man who started it all H. Beam Piper. John F. Carr is the recognized authority on the life and works of H. Beam Piper, his Piper biography The Last Cavalier is avilable to purchase in the shop, alternatively, you can read a short extract of this work by downloading the PDF file of The Last Cavalier.

Kalvan : In the Beginning

Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen is one of science fiction's most beloved alternate world stories, as well as H. Beam Piper's last novel. It combines both Piper's Paratime Police, the protectors of the Paratime Secret (a means of lateral travel through parallel worlds), and a castaway in time, Pennsylvania State Trooper Calvin Morrison.

For Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, H. Beam Piper had a ready-made Paratime universe and characters to populate it with, Paratime Police Chief Verkan Vall and his lovely wife Dalla, Tortha Karf and a host of deputies and investigators from his earlier Paratime stories. Add to this the Hostigos characters, Princess Rylla, her father Prince Ptosphes, Chartiphon, Harmakros and Xentos, Highpriest of Dralm, from his unpublished story, When in the Course..., and he had a ready made "new" world. Mix in some of the historical elements from his 16th Century historical work-in-progress, Only the Arquebus, as well as some larger than life historical models. Finally, drop Pennsylvania State Trooper Calvin Morrison into the mix. Then stand back and watch the fireworks as Lord Kalvan attempts to save the small Princedom of Hostigos from the corrupt and dissolute priesthood of Styphon's House.

The story opens, when Calvin Morrison is 'accidentally' picked up by a Paratime Police cross-time conveyer and dropped off on Aryan-Transpacific, Styphon House Subsector:

On Fourth Level Sector Aryan-Oriental, the Aryan migration of three thousand years ago, instead of moving west and south, as on most sectors, went east into China. However, on one offshoot, Aryan-Transpacific, some of the migrants built ships and sailed north and east along the Kuriles and the Aleutians and settled in North America, bringing with them horses and cattle and iron working skills, exterminating the Amerinds, warring with one another, splitting into diverse peoples and cultures.

There was a civilization, now decadent, on the Pacific coast, and nomads on the central plains herding bison and crossbreeding them with Asian cattle, and a civilization around the Great Lakes and one in the Mississippi Valley, and a new one, five or six centuries old, along the Atlantic and in the Appalachians. Technological level pre-mechanical, water-and-animal power; a few subsectors, such as Styphon's House Subsector, had gotten as far as gunpowder.

This new timeline is a world of princes and princesses, kings and queens, castles and knights; a far cry from Calvin Morrison's home timeline (and our own), Europo-American, Columbia Subsector. After his unexpected drop from the transposition conveyer, Calvin meets the local peoples and is given the name Lord Kalvan, in Zarthani, the Indo-Aryan tongue of the inheritors of Styphon's House Subsector. He quickly learns that the technology and cultural level is about par with the 16th Century of his own timeline.

However, Kalvan is in double-jeopardy: first, his technological knowledge (the secret of gunpowder formula) and his defense of the small Princedom of Hostigos, quickly make him enemies of Styphon's House (the tyrannical theocracy that controls the Fireseed Mystery and most of the gold in the Five Kingdoms) and his overlord, Great King Kaiphranos of Hos-Harphax. In addition, his advanced knowledge and familiarity with higher technology make him a possible threat to the Paratime Police, who have as their prime directive: Protect the secret of Paratemporal transposition.

Now, it's up to Lord Kalvan to save the people of Hostigos, including their lovely Princess, Rylla, without unwittingly stumbling on to the threat to the Paratime Secret. While Paratime Police Chief Verkan Vall must balance his own admiration of Kalvan's growing success with the possibility Kalvan may uncover the one inviolate secret and thus be terminated.

The end result: a classic adventure that has pleased blood-and-thunder fans, alternate history enthusiasts, military history devotees and readers who just love a great story.

For the full story of the beginnings of the Kalvan Saga, the tribulations Piper endured to bring the Kalvan story to life, as well as how the Kalvan Saga was resurrected in the mid-1980's, download Kalvan: The Genesis by John F. Carr and read on.