(((Read Pdf))) ☆ Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery ☋ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Please note this review will be updated as I readstories from the anthology.So as I mentioned this is an anthology of short fantasy presumably sword and sorcery, but you really have to stretch the definition stories While we are here let us give a tribute to the grandfather of the genre who is still the unsurpassed badass The collection consists of the following Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson.Five surviving soldiers came to a quiet backwater village to have a restful sleep It turns Please note this review will be updated as I readstories from the anthology.So as I mentioned this is an anthology of short fantasy presumably sword and sorcery, but you really have to stretch the definition stories While we are here let us give a tribute to the grandfather of the genre who is still the unsurpassed badass The collection consists of the following Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson.Five surviving soldiers came to a quiet backwater village to have a restful sleep It turns out, something is not quite right in there and poor guys got every fun imaginable including desperate fights for their lives except for rest and relaxation This does not have anything to do with Malazan I finished his magnum opus and it left me relatively cold It turns out when Erikson is severely limited by the length of the story he writes these are not called short stories for nothing he can be great No people whining non stop about the miseries of life for 900 pages, no endless wanderings in a handy desert, but good action It is still typical Erikson which means I could predict even the last line of the tale had I thought about it, but it is still worth 4 stars.Tides Elba A Tale of the Black Company by Glen Cook.The tale takes part between the first and the second books of the main series A whole lot of familiar faces are back, including Captain, Lieutenant, Elmo, Silent, Otto, Hagop, Goblin, and One Eye It turns out the last two had an apprentice called Third Poor guy Croaker often mentioned that the Company is not nice, but he rarely shows really nasty parts This one is one of such rare moments.This was the reason I got my hands on this anthology People familiar with my reviews know I love the series The only catch is you need to be already familiar with the characters to fully enjoy the story One Eye winning in cards alone worth the whole book Add to this great dialog and Croaker narration and you have 4 stars if you have read at least the first book of the main series Red Pearls An Elric Story by Michael Moorcock.Elric travels to the other side of the world make it whatever you want from this description in search of something The other side turned out to be quite strange There are some people creatures to kill and some souls to drink with the fabled Stormbringer This one was a mild disappointment On one hand, it was too weird even for an Elrik story On the other hand, it is too ordinary for an Elrik story Sounds confusing, but this is exactly my impression Oh, and the final resolution was way too simplistic 3 stars on the weak side of 3 The Fool Jobs by Joe Abercrombie.A band of ragtag northern barbarians led by a guy named Craw who appears in Heroes the best book of the series, in my opinion is about to commit a heist What could possibly go wrong Let me give you a hint everything This could have been excellent, but it does have a big problem the story itself cannot decide whether it is humorous, or grimdark It started kind of funny, but quickly developed into a good old massacre As a result it does not quite succeed in either 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 just because Craw is my favorite character of the favorite book of the series.So the final rating for now is 4 stars which I will update later with review ofstories (((Read Pdf))) ↯ Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery ⇰ Seventeen original tales of sword and sorcery penned by masters old and new Elric the Black Company Majipoor For years, these have been some of the names that have captured the hearts of generations of readers and embodied the sword and sorcery genre And now some of the most beloved and bestselling fantasy writers working today deliver stunning all new sword and sorcery stories in an anthology of small stakes but high action, grim humor mixed with gritty violence, fierce monsters and fabulous treasures, and, of course, swordplay Don t miss the adventure of the decade Contents Introduction Check Your Dark Lord at the Door by Lou Anders Jonathan Strahan Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson Tides Elba A Tale of the Black Company by Glen Cook Bloodsport by Gene Wolfe The Singing Spear by James Enge A Wizard in Wiscezan by CJ Cherryh A Rich Full Week by KJ Parker A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet by Garth Nix Red Pearls An Elric Story by Michael Moorcock The Deification of Dal Ba A Tale from Echo City by Tim Lebbon Dark Times at the Midnight Market by Robert Silverberg The Undefiled by Greg Keyes Hew the Tintmaster by Michael Shea In the Stacks by Scott Lynch Two Lions, a Witch, and the War Robe by Tanith Lee The Sea Troll s Daughter by Caitl n R Kiernan Thieves of Daring by Bill Willingham The Fool Jobs by Joe Abercrombie A decidedly non Tolkienesque collection of sorcery, swords and morally challenged heroes characters roughly moving through bleak, dreary landscapes and encountering death, violence and other sordid nastiness This is MY kind of fantasy i.e., the unkind variety Within these unhallowed pages, you will find no hairy footed hobbits smoking pipe weed no pompous, effeminate Elves residing in trees and baking bread and no melancholy kings proclaiming in Shakespearean patois You must look elsewher A decidedly non Tolkienesque collection of sorcery, swords and morally challenged heroes characters roughly moving through bleak, dreary landscapes and encountering death, violence and other sordid nastiness This is MY kind of fantasy i.e., the unkind variety Within these unhallowed pages, you will find no hairy footed hobbits smoking pipe weed no pompous, effeminate Elves residing in trees and baking bread and no melancholy kings proclaiming in Shakespearean patois You must look elsewhere for those This is all grim, moorcockian anti heroes and gritty world s that have bloomed from the fertile soil of the likes of Anderson s The Broken Sword This is the dark side of fantasyand it lights up my happy so muchthan the fluffy fantasists like Jordan and Brooks ever could As with most anthologies, the quality level is not uniform and there are some stories that didn t exactly stir my joystick Ironically, several of these less than inspiring tales were the product of theestablished contributors For example, Tanith Lee spunny Two Lions, A Witch And The War Robe is limp and lifeless and Glen Cook s Black Company story, Tides Elbe, felt like it was intended to fill out the page count of the collection and left me bored and drowsy.However, there were farstandouts than washouts and I found a number of absolute gems in this collection Here are my favorites, each of which get an easy 5 stars from me THE CROP S CREAM In the Stacks by Scott Lynch Simply brilliant Dark but whimsical and tension filled but funny, this story concerns a young wizard and a brutal final exam involving a unique library containing millions of magical books These grimoires are semi sentient and the power they contain can leak from the pages making the library a wondrous but treacherous place to visit This is a superbly delicious piece of writing that further cements my opinion of Lynch as one of the best writers in the business right now Now if only he would finish the next Locke Lamora novel Fools Job by Joe Abercrombie This guy apparently can do no wrong in my eyes as he has spun another master piece of gray morality, black humor and buckets full of the red liquid of life This twisted, funny tale is set in the same world as Abercrombie s other novels and introduces characters that make their presence felt in The Heroes You could call it a prequel of sorts and it is an ass kicker The Undefiled by Greg Keyes Despite my enormous love for the stories by Lynch and Abercrombie, this may be my favorite of the whole collection It is easily the darkest and most disturbing tale in the anthology Bleak and deeply moving, this story burrowed into my brain and has stayed therethan any other This is subversive fantasy at its best The Deification of Dal Ba by Tim Lebbon This story introduces the world of his novel Echo City and is another dark slice of awesome Wonderful, unique world building and a terrific magic system This was my first encounter with Tim Lebbon and I look forward to readingof his work Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson in the running for best story in the collection, this story is similar in style and tone to Joe Abercrombie s piece While Joe, in my opinion, has superior prose chops, Erikson shows he can be his equal in story telling as this is a humdinger involving a group of veteran soldiers spending the night in a not so abandoned castle Here is the opening paragraph Five riders drew rein in the pass Slumped in their saddles, they studied the valley sprawled out below them A narrow river cut a jagged scar down the middle of a broad floodplain A weathered wooden bridge sagged across the narrow span, and beyond it squatted a score of buildings, gray as the dust hovering above the dirt tracks wending between themGreat characters, great action and a jaw dropping gut shot of an ending A Rich Full Week by K.J Parker I loved this An unsual piece that takes a fresh, unique look at the zombie mythos Sad and moving and terrific Hew the Tintmaster by Michael Shea a great sorbet of lighter,humorous fare, this is story takes place in Jack Vance s Dying Earth and features everyones favorite scoundrel, Cugel the Clever though in a supporting role Shea does a great job bringing a Vancian style and tone to his story and this was a lot of fun I won t spoil the reveal, but it has a very bimportant place in the Dying Earth canon The rest of the pieces are at least three stars worthy of reading with 4 stars worth of honorable mention going to Red Pearls by Michael Moorcock an Elric tale and Dark Times at the Midnight Market by Robert Silverberg a Majipoor tale Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable collection of scarred men, brutal magics and perverse and pervasive nastiness Me likes 4.0 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED If you ve read both Malazan and the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas this reads about halfway in between The gore and macabre humor of B KB but the soldier comraderie of Malazan By far my favorite short story by Erikson If you ve read both Malazan and the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas this reads about halfway in between The gore and macabre humor of BKB but the soldier comraderie of Malazan By far my favorite short story by Erikson Five riders, slumped in their saddles, rode five battered, beaten down horses into a village.It almost has that signature beginning of a really bad joke, right But then you see whose name is behind such beginning and you realize that, no matter the pun, this is anything but a jokeGoats of Gloryis the first short story inSwords Dark Magic The New Sword and Sorceryanthology byJonathan Strahan It s the story about five members of a company calledRams,company that i Five riders, slumped in their saddles, rode five battered, beaten down horses into a village.It almost has that signature beginning of a really bad joke, right But then you see whose name is behind such beginning and you realize that, no matter the pun, this is anything but a jokeGoats of Gloryis the first short story inSwords Dark Magic The New Sword and Sorceryanthology byJonathan Strahan It s the story about five members of a company calledRams,company that in distant past had thousands of warriors, but now is diminished to only these five surviving members, who jokingly call themselves asGoatsBut, once again, as they enter a sleepy hamlet ofGlory,while folk eagerly prepares five new barrows, they ll prove to be anything but a jokeSeen yourself lately Say, anytime in the last thirty years Great story, likable characters, raw cynical humor everything we already love Erikson for can be found in this short story At 517 pages, Swords Dark Magic is quite a load, even as an anthology I confess, there were a number of these that I grew impatient with and just skipped I either didn t like the tone or approach, and or felt that I d been there and done that story wise It s interesting looking at the reviews for this book, since a number of reviewers, ones I really respect, are all over the place as far as what they like So maybe this collection isa success than I thought, since folks did find work At 517 pages, Swords Dark Magic is quite a load, even as an anthology I confess, there were a number of these that I grew impatient with and just skipped I either didn t like the tone or approach, and or felt that I d been there and done that story wise It s interesting looking at the reviews for this book, since a number of reviewers, ones I really respect, are all over the place as far as what they like So maybe this collection isa success than I thought, since folks did find work that met their expectations as far Sword Sorcery Me I tend to like such stories best when they cast a spell via language and exotic and ominous imagery Old school would have me liking Clark Ashton Smith, which is why I liked Gene Wolfe s Bloodsport Wolfe can be very frustrating to read, but this one worked for me Close behind, is the blood guts action pieces, like Robert E Howard s Conan stories So with that in mind, I found common company in Scott Erikson s Goats of Glory, and Tim Lebbon s Deification of Dal Ba A few comments on the stories below Goats of Glory, by Scott Erikson Good siege story, that reverses expectations Might be the most wickedly fun story in this collection Great placement by the editors Tides Elba, by Glenn Cook Skipped it A lot of people like Cook, but I ve yet to get traction with his voice As always, I just feel like I m reading a thinly cloaked story about a platoon of modern day soldiers I suppose that s the point, but the result is that I don t feel I m really reading Fantasy Bloodsport, by Gene Wolfe Reality blurs Mysterious, poetic, mythic I liked this story quite a bit Don t ask what it s about, because I m not sure I can answer the question But with it s language, it just doesn t seem to matter The Singing Spear, by James Enge It s OK But how many stories have you read about drunk magicians gunfighters, soldiers, etc , pulling it together for oneduel The story line seemed tired to me You can always Make It New, but I m not sure Enge did so A Wizard in Wiscezan, by C.J Cherryh In general, I like Cherryh s distinctive voice But here, while I was on board for most of the story, the ending felt rushed I was disappointed A Rich Full Week, by K.J Parker I ve not read Parker before, but I liked this one, but for unexpected reasons Fantasy often employs horror elements within its stories, but here I think you have a Horror story a zombie type thing , with a few Fantasy trappings magicians And it s a good Horror story I ll say noA Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet, by Garth Nix My first Nix read I liked this one quite a bit I m no fan of humorous fantasy, so this one had to clear that bar from the get go There are a number of stories in this anthology that follow a similar path, but this is the only one I liked A wounded knight recovers in a castle, with a beautiful attendant, a loyal puppet, and a book he should probably leave alone Fun stuff Red Pearls, by Michael Moorcock An Elric novella That alone is probably enough of a reason to pick up this collection If you re an Elric fan, you won t be disappointed The Deification of Dal Ba, by Tim Lebbon I ve read a few of Lebbon s Horror efforts, and found them OK He seems muchcomfortable with Blood Guts Fantasy I liked this one a lot Rebels, Black Magic, an Empire trying to hold on, and Street Fighting Men Good stuff Dark Times at the Midnight Market, by Robert Silverberg Skipped it The Undefiled, by Greg Keyes The darkest story in the collection I ve not read Keyes before, but this one impressed me Really dark Hew the Tintmaster, by Michael Shea For the most part I thought Shea did a good job recreating Vance s world But then Cugel shows up I come fairly recent reading of Vance s Cugel, a very distinctive character, who devolves before your eyes One of the great anti heroes in any fiction Shea does nothing with him He would of been better off not including him I thought the story fizzled at the end though it opens wonderfully A disappointment In the Stacks, by Scott Lynch Skipped it Couldn t get into it A lot of people seem to like this one, so maybe I ll revisit it again one these years Two Lions, A Witch, and a War robe, by Tanith Lee Skipped it But at this point Fantasy fatigue was starting to set in Of the skipped stories, this is the one I m most likely to try again I was kind of turned off by the C.S Lewis reference I m not a Narnia fan The Sea Troll s Daughter, by Caitlin Kiernan I m a big fan of this writer, but I was kind of disappointed with this one Kiernan is clearly mining Beowulf, and some other old tales, trying to come up with something new The result seemed to be a kind of subversive hodge podge that just didn t click But with Kiernan, you always have the language as a fall back Thieves of Daring, by Bill Willingham I think this is the shortest story in the collection, and without doubt the most unnecessary Very slight The Fool Jobs, by Joe Abercrombie A crusty and varied group of thieves gatherand that s as far I got, since by this point I had grown bored with the collection I figure this will be slotted along side Erickson Lebbon, but I need a breakOh, and all of this starts off with a pretty good Introductory essay by the editors I read only 1 Goats of Glory Steven Erikson because of the ultimate order Yessir 2 In the stacks Scott Lynch and my visits to the library will never be the same Also, I want a pet vocabuvore. I ve reviewed each section of this anthology on it s own merits, then gave my thoughts of the whole at the end.Introduction Check Your Dark Lord at the Door by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan An intro this anthology that purports as the title suggests that this is a collection of new Sword Sorcery, with a mix some classics A claim I found highly dubious, though commendable Nonetheless with names like Moorcock, Cook, Erikson and Abercrombie amongst the list I was really looking forward to I ve reviewed each section of this anthology on it s own merits, then gave my thoughts of the whole at the end.Introduction Check Your Dark Lord at the Door by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan An intro this anthology that purports as the title suggests that this is a collection of new Sword Sorcery, with a mix some classics A claim I found highly dubious, though commendable Nonetheless with names like Moorcock, Cook, Erikson and Abercrombie amongst the list I was really looking forward to a fun and varied anthology Let s see how it fares.Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson This is one of the stories I was anticipating most I am a fan of Erikson s work, at least what I have read, and he is a local boy so I like to give him the benefit of the doubt Well I will say that the story has the aesthetics of Sword Sorcery, at its basest Swords, check, sorcery, check, booze, check, carousing, check, violence and gore, double check What it lacks however is the introspection and dark imagery we glean from the masters of the genre like Howard s Conan, Moorcock s Elric, Wagner s Kane or Leiber s Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser It is sorely missed The prose was simple and without flourish To me it felt like the story was missing its soul, its essence Though not terrible by any means, it may be my least favourite of the collection The anthology starts of on a weak foot but sometimes it s better to start from the bottom anyway What else do we have in store Tides Elba A Tale of the Black Company by Glen Cook Mr Cook is another author I was quite looking forward to reading, as I had enjoyed The Black Company novel though it has been a while This story seems to be a direct prequel to his first novel in the Black Company series I don t consider his work to be Sword Sorcery, as it too does not quite have the same feel of the aforementioned authors, but it is dark fantasy And this story delivered pretty much exactly what I had expected A fast paced, violent and somewhat morally ambiguous story, with touches of dark humour.Bloodsport by Gene Wolfe This was an interesting story, unique amongst the bunch Wolfe was an author, whom though familiar with, I had yet to read his works I feel like this was a good introduction Again not exactly Sword Sorcery in the traditional sense seeing a trend here , but it does feature certain elements The prose itself had a very old feel to it, a step removed from epics or medieval romances, and the story itself had some similarities to those kinds of tales too It is a dark story with hints of romance, and an original idea that plays on an old classic game of strategy Unlike Erikson story this one tended to have less of the aesthetic of Sword Sorcery, butof the feel As the story features some dark imaginative ideas, and a bit of character introspection, but lacked much of the gore, violence or even sorcery.The Singing Spear by James Enge I d never heard of James Enge before reading this anthology And that s the beauty of a good anthology reading works from familiar authors, exploring works of authors only heard of, and being introduced to new authors altogether And I have to say this story,so than any other save perhaps Moorcock s Elric tale is the epitome of Sword Sorcery Dark fantastic imagery, brooding introspective main characters, booze, swords, sorcery and violence Most of all it s his prose, it hearkens to the masters of the genre It reminded me most of Leiber s works, as opposed to say Howard, Wagner or Moorcock, as it has touches of humour throughout instead of a strictly serious plot A fantastic new discovery.A Wizard in Wiscezan by C.J Cherryh Like many of the authors on the list, and Cherryh being one of them, I was familiar with their works, but had yet to actually read anything by them And this was an interesting inclusion in this anthology The story felt markedly different than the rest of the stories, as does the way it s told and prose Yet it doesn t strike me as wholly unique either It hasof a high fantasy feel to it than previous entries in the anthology a young boy learning to be a magician, set on a daunting task Ultimately feelslike the beginning of a larger quest than a sole short story, and it makes me wonder if this is connected a larger work from C.J Cherryh Enjoyable and a good intro to her works, but it feels like it s just a small part of a muchepic whole.A Rich Full Week by K.J Parker Another author I d heard of, but hadn t yet read, though Parker specifically had really piqued my interest so I was quite excited to get to this tale And I must say it was quite unique Somewhat dark, yet humorous The story revolves around a young priest or something like one , the undead and some strange magicks It s has a distinctly earthly feel to it, despite the subject matter Parker s prose, though not necessarily florid has a certain wry charm to it that I quite enjoyed And again, maybe not strictly Sword Sorcery, but I feel like it s only maybe a step removed.A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet by Garth Nix Nix is another one those authors whom I d heard of, but had yet to read And this, I think, was a great introduction This was a fun little story, different than others in the anthology, butakin to traditional Sword Sorcery than others, though perhaps not quite as dark Like Cherryh s story I found this one had a feel of being part of a larger scope, like this story was just one amongst many Though it felt like it was an instalment in a larger collection of similar instalments think Conan collections as opposed to Cherryh s which felt like a small section of one grand storyline.Red Pearls An Elric Story by Michael Moorcock This is the story I had been looking forward to the most One of the original propagators of Sword Sorcery, Michael Moorcock has been one of, if not, my favourite authors for a long time His Elric series instantly captured my imagination with his beautiful dark imagery and inventive stories and character And this story easily lives up to his classics It continues where Elric s story left off with Moorcock s beautiful prose, morally ambiguous at best main character, and twisting tales full of fast paced action This time on an ill fated journey to the world below, the underside of his own known world, to claim the White Sword I may be biased, but this well could be the best instalment in this anthology though one or two later ones give Moorcock a run for his money and it, along with the aforementioned The Singing Spear, completely epitomize what Sword Sorcery is.The Deification of Dal Ba A Tale From Echo City by Time Lebbon This is one dark story I mean really dark Filled with gore, violence and torture The main character is, at best, an anti hero The story has as much in common with splatterpunk horror as it does with dark fantasy and Sword Sorcery fiction And you know what That s okay I like this story Very unique in its style and execution I d seen Lebbon s name bandied about a bit, like others, but never in relation to fantasy fiction, and I must say this caught my interest Of the authors of old Sword Sorcery the only one I would truly liken this work to would be Karl Edward Wagner, whose works were also unremittingly dark, though slightly less horrific After this story I m interested in reading some of his longer fiction.Dark Times at Midnight Market by Robert Silverberg I don t really have much to say about this one I appreciate Silverberg s contribution to the genre sort of anyway but I don t think that this story, part of the Majipoor chronicles, really fits with the collection It feltlike he was added based on his name The story isof a sci fi story than fantasy Admittedly perhapsin the science fantasy sort of style, as it does feature sorcery that s half the battle, right But the story is just insipid and shallow too Not my cup of tea I will say I prefer his prose to Erikson s in the first instalment in this anthology, but at least Erikson s story felt like it had some thought and originality to it This just felt like a throw away.The Undefiled by Greg Keyes Keyes is another of the major authors in this anthology I had really been anticipating reading And I wasn t disappointed A suitably dark yet original story filled with violence and sorcery The tone of prose felt distinctly modern, yet the subject matter and format recurring characters on a new quests hearkened to atraditional Sword Sorcery style Like Nix s story it felt like this is part of a larger series of adventures I feel like this story was a perfect example of The new Sword Sorcery that the editors had been hoping for.Hew The Tintmaster by Michael Shea Like Silverberg s instalment this is somewhat of a science fantasy story Unlike like Silverberg s story this one feltfantastic, and was muchenjoyable It is a bit of a pastiche of Jack Vance s Dying Earth series, though Cugel, Vance s character, mostly shows up as a cameo Overall it was a fun adventure with an original plot and characters and fun execution Shea s tone was reminiscent of an older style which makes sense since he s been writing since the 70 s and definitely had a touch of Jack Vance to it Beautiful imagery.In the Stacks by Scott Lynch This was another author and story I had been really looking forward to reading First time exploring Lynch s works, and I must say I was blown away I found his style and subject matter somewhat reminiscent of Patrick Rothfuss, but perhaps evenfluid The story about a group of young wizards on a quest to return books in a living library was fun, original and exciting This is the only story, so far, that gave Red Pearls a run for its money Though it s not really much like Sword Sorcery, definitelyakin to high fantasy, but the quick pace and self encapsulated story does have some similarities to the shorter workscommon in SS.Two Lions, A Witch and a War Robe by Tanith Lee Though I have yet to read an full length stories of Lee s work, I have read a couple of her shorter works in various anthologies, and she never disappoints Same goes for here Like her works in other anthologies even ones mostly dedicated to SS her works aren t exactly Sword Sorcery, though this one is actually probably a step closer than others I have read from her Swordplay, sorcery, booze and quests, pretty much spot one Though not a terribly dark story compared to other SS stories, or even most other stories in this anthology The story itself starts out simple enough, but as it develops it takes a life of its own The characters are really rather non descript, but have a certain wit and charm that makes them enjoyable nonetheless Add to the mix some fantastic wordplay for a title and we get another hit for Tanith Lee.The Sea Troll s Daughter by Caitlin Kiernan Like Lebbon I ve mostly seen Kiernan s name associated with horror works Unlike Lebbon it s normally associatedwith weird works than the gorier splatterpunk side of horror But also like Lebbon her fantasy fiction in this anthology is fresh, original, and very enjoyable It checks off all the boxes for Sword Sorcery, booze, carousing, violence, swords, sorcery sort of , beautiful prose and dark imagery with a troubled protagonist Yet it also hearkens to an older style, both in subject and execution, it isreminiscent of Beowulf than Conan, and yet with a distinctly feminine twist Like Keyes story this is the new Sword Sorcery that the editors were searching for.Thieves of Daring by Bill Willingham I am familiar with Bill s comic works, Fables and Shadowpact, and enjoyed what I d read of both But this was my first time reading his strictly written work It s the shortest tale in the anthology, and as such doesn t get a lot of chance to develop, and feels somewhat cut short Nonetheless this is a direct tribute to works from Leiber or Howard and was still a solid instalment in the anthology, if not wholly original.The Fools Job by Joe Abercrombie Saving best for last Maybe I have been a big Abercrombie kick recently I just love his dark humor, descriptive violence and enjoyable yet flawed characters And this shorter work hits all those marks, it also mostly hits all the pre requisites for Sword Sorcery, well at least it has the swords and the sorcery Actually it reminded me most of Glen Cook s works A band on a mission, high in danger, low in details There is a couple references to some of Abercrombie s other characters, but mostly this story is completely self contained A great way to finish off this anthology.Now for my thoughts overall Did this anthology succeed in achieving what the editors set out to do Not really We discover some new Sword Sorcery styled stories and authors, and we do get the chance to re visit some classic authors of the genre or at least on the peripheries of the genre, like Wolfe or Silverberg But a lot of it is simply not Sword Sorcery, or has little to do with its progenitors Had it been titled New Heroic Fantasy, I would have said that the editors knocked it out of the park in that respect, as undoubtedly that s what nearly all these stories are But what really matters to me is if it was enjoyable And that it was And you know what I m kind of happy it wasn t all strictly Leiber, Howard and Moorcock clones, I prefer to have some variety Even when looking back at older anthologies in the genre, like Swords Against Darkness or Flashing Swords , many of the best works within were not simple Conan clones, like those of say Lin Carter or Andrew Offut, but instead it was theunique works like those of Tanith Lee and Charles De Lint or authors venturing beyond their comfort zones like Ramsey Campbell or Brian Lumley 4.5 5 When the back of the cover says Seventeen Original Tales of Sword and Sorcery penned by Masters Old and New and then goes on to mention Glen Cook and the Black Company, Michael Moorcock and Elric, Steven Erikson and Malazan, Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg and Majipoor, KJ Parker, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and others, most readers would need little persuading to pick this one up.Further, when the two editors are known as a couple of the best in the business currently, you would expect a h When the back of the cover says Seventeen Original Tales of Sword and Sorcery penned by Masters Old and New and then goes on to mention Glen Cook and the Black Company, Michael Moorcock and Elric, Steven Erikson and Malazan, Gene Wolfe, Robert Silverberg and Majipoor, KJ Parker, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and others, most readers would need little persuading to pick this one up.Further, when the two editors are known as a couple of the best in the business currently, you would expect a healthy selection of the best tales from the best.Consequently, the beginning boded well Their introduction to Sword and Sorcery is well written and informative, pointing out the origins of the subgenre and the current re emergence of interest in it.So far, so good However, having eagerly sat down to read the actual stories, it was a different reaction The first three stories in the collection by Erikson, Cook and Wolfe respectively were extremely disappointing, to the point where I seriously thought I had made a major mistake in reading it.However, the fourth, by James Enge, was an improvement and the next by stalwart CJ Cherryh began to make me feel happier Things started to look better KJ Parker s tale was a joy and Moorcock s Elric was a triumph Halfway through the book I was feeling much happier, though there were still stories that left me unimpressed By the end I was glad I had read it, though it was not the triumph of the genre I had hoped it was going to be when I started The nature of story collections is that there are bound to be stories that you like better than others Usually though I can say whether I liked the collection or not Silverberg s Legends, for example, published in 1998, and its sequel Legends II 2003 had the same intent as this, to showcase the best Fantasy and had some unusual yet interesting choices that made me readof some authors I had not read.Here, with the same aim, there were no authors I had not encountered before and all of whom previously I would ve said were good, but the overriding cumulative impression in the end here is much less positive.What worried me most is that this book was not the book I had hoped would be definitive I was hoping that this was the one that would allow me to say to others,Here you are This is the book that tells you why I read Fantasy It is a collection of great stories from some of the best writers in the field today Read it and you will want to read It should ve been, but isn t.There are stories there I liked, for a variety of reasons It was wonderful to revisit old favourites such as Elric and Majipoor, it was also great to read tales from some of the new Scott Lynch s tale of a magical library gone awry was great, so too Joe Abercrombie s The Fool Jobs which augurs well for the new book soon but there were far too many that, despite me wanting to like them, left me feeling at the end that I had wasted my time.A curate s egg then, and, for me, a disappointingly uneven read There is a lot to like, but you may not find the journey totally acceptable.Having said that, Rob Bedford reviewing for the Sacramento San Francisco Book Review liked it.Think this may be one that divides readers I m going to be interested in reading what others think This is copy 102 of 500 signed and numbered copies.