Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ardath Frances Hurst Mayhar (1930 - 2012)

Battletech fans lost one of the early pioneers in Batteltech fiction. Ardath Mayhar, author of The Sword and the Dagger has passed away Febuary 1, 2012, at the age of 81.

She holds a special place in Battletech history as the author of the one of the first battletech novels, The Sword and the Dagger. This novel, along with the Star League sourcebook, are considered by some as Battletech's holy grail.

The Sword and the Dagger is important in that it lays the groundwork for the Fourth Sucessor War, introduces Hanse Davion and Ardan Sortek. It's not as polished as later novels, but this was the second Battletech novel published (Though it may have been the first one commisioned.) and may things Battletech fans take for granted hadn't been settled yet. But its still an important novel, for it contrants and its history. This is the first of what would become the "Spine" novels, where the major event, the backbone of battletech history are laid out.

In an essay she wrote for the Battlecorps site, she said she was given the novel to write after the two authors who had been assigned the novel, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, left when a better deal came up. Given a packet and the plot synopsis. She read the and realized she needed to change some things. So, she did. With help from Walter Keith (William Keith, maybe?) to write the fight scenes involving personal weapons (As the information package didn't have anything on those weapons), she wrote the story of Hanse Davion, his double, and Hanse's loyal friend, Ardan Sortek.

But to just talk about Mrs. Mayher's Battletech work would be an injustice. She was an author with over sixty novels to her name, under several different pen names in genres ranging from science fiction to horror to young adult to historical to westerns. Go to to see her output.
When she wasn't writing, she owned and operated The View from Orbit Bookstore in Nacogdoches with her husband Joe until his death in 1999, after which she sold the store.

I have The Sword and the Dagger, but I haven't read it in a while. I'll see if I can find an afternoon and change that.


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