Sunday, May 16, 2010

Swords and Dark Magic-Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders

Swords and Dark Magic
Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
Eos, Jul 2010, $15.99
ISBN 9780061723810

Although this strong fantasy anthology claims to be the new sword and sorcery, most of the entries feel like entertaining throwbacks to Robert E. Howard or to a contributor’s long running series. None of the entries are clinkers; in fact most are quite strong. “The Sea Troll’s Daughter” by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan stars a villain rescuing a damsel in distress while Steven Erickson presents the multiple perspectives of five surviving riders of the Goats of Glory troop retreating from an invincible enemy. However, much of the fun in this fine collection resides with the return of heroes (and antiheroes). Michael Moorcock contributes Elric in “Red Pearls”; Cugel the Clever stars in Michael Shea’s “Dapple How the Tint Master”; “Dark Times at the Midnight Market” by Robert Silverberg is led by Majipoor: and finally the Black Company of Glen Cook heads “Tides Elba”. With the rest of the authors being a who’s who of fantasy, readers will enjoy Sword and Dark Magic although once again the compilation is less the “New Sword and Sorcery” and more homage to the late great Mr. Howard.

Harriet Klausner

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