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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery Paperback – June 22, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061723819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061723810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Editors Strahan (Eclipse 3) and Anders (Fast Forward 2) present 17 original stories that recall the classic works of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. To earn the book's subtitle of The New Sword and Sorcery, Gene Wolfe puts on literary airs (Bloodsport); Tim Lebbon contributes some of the graphic horror and moral twists of the New Weird (The Deification of Dal Balmore); and Caitlín R. Kiernan introduces a complicated heroine rescued by the ostensible villain (The Sea Troll's Daughter). But most of the stories are more traditional tales of apprentice mages coming-of-age and down-on-their-luck mercenaries facing unexpected perils. Fans of the classics will appreciate the tie-ins to familiar series by Michael Moorcock, Glen Cook, and Robert Silverberg, plus a fully authorized Cugel the Clever cameo by Michael Shea. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

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!


More About the Author

Lou Anders's research on Norse mythology while writing Frostborn turned into a love affair with Viking culture and a first visit to Norway. He hopes the series will appeal to boys and girls equally. Anders is the recipient of a Hugo Award for editing and a Chesley Award for art direction. He has published over 500 articles and stories on science fiction and fantasy television and literature. Frostborn, which Publishers Weekly described as "thoroughly enjoyable" (starred review), is his first middle grade novel. A prolific speaker, Anders regularly attends writing conventions around the country. He and his family reside in Birmingham, Alabama. You can visit Anders online at louanders.com and ThronesandBones.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ThronesandBones.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Each story has a short preface about the author.
Arthur W. Jordin
Great twist of an ending like only Abercrombie can do, but I do think his work is more suited to long form.
The Mad Hatter
It was written well enough, the story itself was just weak and the characters weaker.
R.M. Knight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on June 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
With Swords & Dark Magic editors Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan have amassed an all-original collection of Sword and Sorcery from both new and long established masters of the genre. Overall the volume doesn't disappoint. There are a few ruts which didn't take off for me, but for those that did work well made this a memorable volume. What surprised me most was the pacing of many of the stories. What I'd call the old school authors seem to go for more of a slow build-up while the newer entrants for the most part vie to grab you from the first page with action. Now on to some of the highlights.

"Goats of Glory" by Steven Erikson - A very slow moving story for the most part. I was getting bored until the magic part finally got introduced and at that point I was hooked. Demon hordes are a bunch of pushovers when a group of warriors comes out of the mountains. A very satisfying ending with good action in the last third.

"Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company" by Glen Cook - The Company is on a bit of a lull as they have been stationed in one city without anyone to battle for months. When all of a sudden they are again tossed into the machinations of their betters. Definitely one of the better Black Company shorts I've read as it shows they are more than just the brawn and have got brains to back it up. Croaker keeps his usual tone and aplomb as the company figures out away to solve the heart of the matter without getting their own throats cut.

"Bloodsport" by Gene Wolfe - In some ways this reminds me a lot of a GRRM Dunk & Egg story without Egg. A new Knight is made to play the games of their sovereign, but when the games are over and all else is lost they strive to better the world around them and give themselves a purpose.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Steven Diamond on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review was posted a short time ago at Elitist Book Reviews. Go check out the blog for additional reviews.

***The Review***

It's really not an exaggeration when we say SWORDS & DARK MAGIC was easily one of our most anticipated titles of the year. In fact, that doesn't even say enough. Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, this collection, to us, was like the Holy Grail of short story anthologies. Why? The first three stories in the collection, in the order they appear: Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, Gene Wolf. Yeah. That's just the first three stories.

Sheesh.

First we need to get something out of the way, and yeah it's a tad petty. The subtitle of the collection is "The New Sword & Sorcery". Honestly, this isn't a fair or accurate subtitle. Don't get us wrong, there are plenty of swords and plenty of sorcery to be found amidst these 500+ pages of awesomeness, but there isn't anything groundbreaking here. There isn't anything here that is re-inventing the genre. No, the subtitle should have been something more like "New Tales in Sword & Sorcery".

Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the anthology.

It is fantastic. Are there weak stories here? Yeah. The thing about short fiction anthologies, however, is that you have a collection that appeals to a variety. As we stated earlier, the anthology starts with stories by Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, and Gene Wolfe. Then you have James Enge, C.J. Cherryh, K. J. Parker, Garth Nix and a guy named Michael Moorcock. But see, we aren't done yet. Then you move on to Tim Lebbon, Robert Silverberg (maybe you've heard of him?), Greg Keyes, Michael Shea, Scott Lynch, Tanith Lee, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bill Willingham, and ending the collection with Joe Abercrombie.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg on July 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As the title suggests, Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders have gathered seventeen new and original sword & sorcery tales in this anthology. The stories are written by a variety of successful authors, bringing to play a broad range of styles and themes. I'm a huge fan of sword & sorcery (it's what got me into fantasy). So I was extremely eager to get my hands on this book.

I did find Swords and Dark Magic to be heavier on the "sorcery" than the "sword," more so than is my preference. (Like the greatest S&S hero, Conan the Cimmerian, I subscribe to the belief that when the gods breathed life into mankind, we were given the gift of strength and the secret of steel. So, there is no sorcerer or demonspawn that cannot be beaten by brute strength or a sharp blade.) Regardless, my enjoyment was no less for it. I was absolutely thrilled when I read the dedication, which pays homage to the masters:

"For Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Michael Moorcock, the great literary swordsmen who made it all possible."

I believe that an anthology is only as good as its introduction, and the one in this book proves my point. The editors detail the birth of S&S and pay respect to the authors noted in the dedication along with the very few others, C. L. Moore and Clark Ashton Smith, who were there at the beginning. This is followed by shout-outs to Lin Carter, L. Sprague deCamp, Andre Norton, and Charles Saunders, who picked up the torch decades after. These authors, especially Howard, have been too long overlooked for their role in creating the genre that was practically the whole of fantasy before Tolkien.

Due to sheer laziness, I usually opt not to review each story of an anthology individually.
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