2014 A to Z Challenge: K is for Knives

Day Eleven of the A to Z Challenge. Primer: During April over 2,000 bloggers are posting daily on topics that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. My posts will revolve around the research elements that have informed my new historical fantasy, Famine.

K is for Knives. And guns and weapons. Oh my!


I hadn't intended to give Bartholomew a gladius. The large and small boning knives, yes, but the Roman sword kinda snuck in there. A fantasy character carrying a sword has become a bit predictable, but sometimes characters want what they want. Technically he should have a spatha (slightly longer than the gladius that it slowly replaced as Rome's preferred sword), but the gladius is iconic. So I fudged historical accuracy a bit.

The boning knives, on the other hand, well there's just something raw about a character who uses those. They imply a dark purpose and a willingness to get up-close and personal. They mean business and belie Bartholomew's gentlemanly appearance. Those I deliberately placed in his hands.

Then there's the Balearic sling. That was a chance to give him an ancient (like Biblical-ancient) weapon that's easily concealed but extremely deadly when wielded with accuracy. Consisting of a length of braided hemp, a Balearic sling has a loop at one end that fits over the slinger's finger and a widened "pouch" in the middle for a stone. The opposite end is held until release. A small stone is loaded into the pouch, the slinger whirls the sling two or three times and then releases the pinched end. The snap you hear is the sound barrier being broken by the end of the sling. Yes, m'dears, David really could have slain Goliath with a stone.

Last comes the guns -- a Colt revolver and, later, two Colt semi-automatics. I have to thank Ethereal Rose and her followers for all the excellent gun advice, as well as the lively discussion about gun selection. They were invaluable! I will be picking their collective brains a lot more in the future. :D

A selection of weaponry:

Bartholomew pulled the sling from his pocket and loaded a stone as he trailed them. Koorva.

At mid-block Matilde ducked into a narrow alley. One cadaver followed her, but the other turned at the crack of Bartholomew’s sling. A stone shattered the front of the man’s skull, and he toppled like a tower.

Thanks for stopping by. Please take a few minutes to check out some of the other A to Z bloggers, leave comments, and see what other writers have posted for K.