Fantastic History #17: The Elephant and Macaw Banner by Christopher Kastensmidt

My journey with Gerard Van Oost and Oludara has been five years longer than their fictional journey. Traveling back to 2010, I first met Christopher Kastensmidt, as we were both authors at a small press called Cats Curious. That same year, the first of these novelettes came out in Realms of Fantasy and was nominated for a Nebula. I was hooked.

Most of you know my twin infatuations with historical fiction and fantasy. Historical fiction AND fantasy are a combination I can’t resist, much like chocolate and peanut butter. One of my favorite authors is Alexandre Dumas, and Christopher Kastensmidt is a direct heir to him.

Kastensmidt has written a series of novelettes that span eight publishing years. The main characters, Gerard Van Oost and Oludara, capture the true spirit of early Brazil: itinerant hunters of folkloric monsters who set out to explore the wilds of the jungle in the early days of colonization, using their strength, skills, and wit. The two of them seem more than a match for anything they meet in the end, and their heroics are epic, considering they only two under the Elephant and Macaw banner.

Each novelette explores the beauty of the Brazilian landscape, explores Brazilian folklore, and reveals the texture and tapestry of the early settlers of Brazil. The research is painstaking; the content is woven together expertly. These novelettes are an immersive experience with characters you truly care about. Kastensmidt is committed to inclusivity in his series, and writes other cultures with care and grace.

Your entry point to these amazing adventures is now. Guardbridge Books is collecting the entirety of the series and is releasing it as a collection, which will be released on November 5th. To read more about the amazing journey Kastensmidt’s story has taken in Brazil, check out this entry in Fantastic History about Elephant and Macaw, as well as our Unreliable Narrators interview with the author.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.