I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet but “Thrillers: 100 Must Reads” has been nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America. The collection of essays was nominated in the “Best Critical/Biographical” category. The book contains my essay on Beowulf, which I call “the earliest epic poem in English and one of the greatest.” Here’s a snippet:
Great works of literature often peel away the mask of our piety to expose the raw life underneath. So it is with Beowulf, a brooding, blood-soaked celebration of warrior manhood.
We in the modern West have been so powerful, so dominant, so safe
in our homes for so long that we slip too easily into the illusion that we live at peace. We are never at peace, not really. When we go to the ballet or walk in the park or stop to smell a rose or read a book, we only do so by the good graces of the fighters who stand ready to kill and die to defend us. Soldiers on our borders, police officers on our streets—only the threat of their physical force keeps those who would murder, rob, or enslave us at bay. Every moment of tranquility and freedom implies the warrior who protects it. The world of Beowulf is the real world.
Buy the book to read the rest.
The book, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, also includes essays by Lee Child, David Baldacci and my lovely and talented friend Gayle Lynds. Morrell, who created Rambo in his novel First Blood, is also a talented friend and I’m sure lovely in his own way. In any case, congratulations to all involved.