The Long Moonlight follows Xerdes, the lone thief from Menuvia, who picks the wrong lock and opens the wrong door. He soon finds himself drafted into an underworld power struggle threatening to burn down the city of Menuvia.
Menuvia is a sparkling gem made of rough stone, the seat of political power in the Kingdom of Vale. Revolt foments among the patrician class and open gang war looms on the horizon. As the Argentine Tower plots revolution, Xerdes who has a past as dark as Menuvia itself picks the wrong lock and opens the wrong door. Shadows still cast in the dark of night, underneath the long moonlight.
During a second-floor job in Menuvia’s richer districts, professional thief Xerdes overhears the name of a man he once watched die. He soon finds himself drafted into an underworld power struggle threatening to burn down the city of Menuvia. But when the web of double-crosses cuts too close to home, Xerdes might be the one to light the match.
The story is written by RazörFist. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and produces several web series, including Film Noirchives, Metal Mythos, and the popular Rageaholic review and Commentary series on Youtube. He has many loyal fans as well as many loyal anti-fans.
Prior to that, he studied Journalism and Political Science at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The Long Moonlight is his ﬁrst published novel, having previously illustrated short stories in various anthology magazines as a comic artist.
The Long Moonlight is a pulp noir crime tale set in a fantasy world. It is the first book of the Nightvale series. The 126-page hardcover book reads similar to the Curse of Capistrano without the excessive exposition that you see and sometimes need in epic fantasy series mainly because fantasy is really the lowest influence in The Long Moonlight.
The story is told in 10 chapters and the writing is structured with a descriptive narrative to visually imagine what is happening in the story. The book features a series of original illustrations including a map of Menuvia as well as some well-drawn black-and-white pulp-inspired illustrations. The book is printed on regular paper with the dimensions 15.24 x 0.76 x 22.86 cm. The book was published in 2020 by Dark Legion Books.
Meet the characters in The Long Moonlight: Xerdes, Cyrus Welliver, Rolf Eghenston, Saryss, Inspector Coggins, and Captain Bevens.
Xerdes is a lone thief out to make a living in Menuvia, a city of high palaces and low living. He is a morally questionable character, typical of a noir hero, but with a code of his own and an inclination to help others. While his skills of subterfuge are self-evident, he is increasingly torn between the necessities of his vocation and his newly emerging morality. According to the author his character is inspired by Robinhood and Philip Marlow.
Cyrus Welliver is the Baron of the Menuvian criminal class, his rough-and-tumble demeanor, squalid tavern headquarters, and lumbering build, bely a machiavellian intellect and capacity for circumspection. He intends his first meeting with Xerdes to be his last.
Rolf Eghenston is an austere and ambitious crime boss with myriad inroads into the Menuvian nobility and political classes. As Cy Welliver’s philosophical and territorial opposite (and easily his intellectual equal), they have only recently concluded a lengthy campaign against each other’s criminal enterprises. The resultant ‘Night Truce’ was Eghenston’s formulation. But the peace it brokered is a tenuous one.
Saryss is an agent of Rolf Eghenston’s and the love interest of Xerdes. Of hardy, Horrand ancestry, she was a natural enforcer for the bloody days to come. The honor code of her people forbids her profession. Clanless and disowned, she finds herself caught between the warring crime empires with unlikely allies.
Inspector Coggins is the cold, calculating detective assigned to investigate the exploits of the Menuvian gangland. As matters accumulate, he must confront not only open violence in the streets but also possible collaborators in his own ranks.
Captain Bevens is the captain of the Menuvian Guard and Coggins’ superior officer. His unbending approach to law enforcement would appear to compliment his methodical subordinate. Yet as his political considerations accumulate, it nearly as often puts them at odds.
THE LONG MOONLIGHT
The story starts on Trisday, 23rd of Ántilián, 1856. Here we know that it takes place in a world where the days and even time are set up differently than our own. We meet Xerdes. As a proper thief, Xerdes believes that a professional should avoid messiness.
He makes mistakes but is able to execute his plans and use his blade with fury and precision like no other. He has abilities no ordinary man has. But but he cracks the wrong door and finds himself in the middle of an imminent gang war working for crime lords.
Xerdes meets Saryss, a skilled mercenary swordswoman from the north who becomes Xerdes’s partner in crime. Xerdes had plans to retire which is why he didn’t spend all his money which Saryss noticed. They later start their romance which ends abruptly with Saryss’s brutal death.
Xerdes felt responsible for her death. “No tears came. No sorrow choked his throat, and no lamentations leaped from his tongue. He only felt white cold fury, the kind that burns to the touch and makes a black pit of the stomach”. Xerdes becomes something more than the lone survivor of an exceptionally talented thieving crew, the Wolves. He was no longer Xerdes, a Menuvian outlaw. He became an instrument of inviolate vengeance.
Xerdes targets the crime lords by setting their greed and desires against themselves. The destruction of the crime lords doesn’t have to be physical, manipulating them with mind games can cause their own auto-destruction. An impulsive overreaction can be as deadly as a sword. Will Xerdes successfully avenge Saryss’s death?
The Long Moonlight is an interesting start to the Nightvale series heavily inspired by pulp and noir. The story was engaging bringing a different yet familiar world with different metrics and rules but what was really distracting was the choice of words to tell the story. I read the story having no insight into the pulp stories its inspired by.
The book reminds me of the Curse of Capistrano not only for its length but also the writing style which seems to use words from the pulp era.
In my case, it should be noted that English is not my native language and I’m still discovering pulp heroes. With the exception of Zorro, The Phantom, Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, and John Carter (from the Movies and TV), pulp is mostly an unknown territory for me. Just recently discovered Doc Savage and Miss Fury and learning more about it. Having said that, there were too many times when I had to look up the meaning of words and reread the sentences. It was a challenging read.
I like that the focus is more on the continuation of the plot rather than on a specific character or situation like the romance part. I learned that pulp stories are fast-paced and plot-driven so based on these characteristics he’s done a good job. The artwork, mostly made with the crosshatching technique, helps to get you into the story.
THE DEGRADING STATE OF DIALOGUES AND VOCABULARY
While there may have been too many unknown words in the story, I think it is still necessary to encourage the right use of proper wording in general. Maybe in this case you could still maintain the descriptive style of the pulp era but with an appropriately balanced amount of wording. To comply simplifies it is not the solution. It is still important to maintain and expand the level of vocabulary not to degrade it to current-day talk.
Truth be told with the rise of social media we have become very lazy in how we communicate with each other. We use fewer words to send a message which can be easily misinterpreted and we have become used to using simplistic words such as “bigly” instead of choosing the more appropriate word such as “larger” or “greater”. It wouldn’t be a problem if it was kept only in social settings but it has infiltrated the corporate world as well.
In my opinion, the existing education programs are lacking in literature studies that help expand the dialogue and vocabulary. You see in entertainment how current language is used in stories of a different era which makes them out of place and easily dated. It even went beyond just the language to actually change the physical characteristics of historical characters.
The Long Moonlight is a pulp/noir/crime/fantasy thriller tale about gangs, betrayals, magic, romance, and revenge. The story has two main storylines. The first one is wherein Xerdes pulls off heists and everyone he meets along the way. The second is his quest for revenge.
The author included several sketches in the book marrying the visual with the text which elevates the understanding of the tale. Maybe a graphic novel version of the tale would have been a better choice? The audiobook version seems to have some corrections but I can’t verify that as I haven’t listen to it yet.
Those who are interested in pulp and noir stories will probably enjoy this book. Reading will be challenging on the first try but it’s still worth a try.
The story continues in “Death Mask”, Book II of the Nightvale series . The physical editions of the books “The Long Moonlight” and “Death Mask” are available in hardcover or softcover formats on Amazon. The digital editions of “The Long Moonlight” and “Death Mask” are available in audiobook or e-book formats on Ark Haven Comics.
All images in this publication belong to the original creators and are used as references under fair use.