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Tales of the Crimson Keep Paperback – July 16, 2014
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In each story of this enchanting anthology, you can't help but fall into step with these intrepid wizards-to-be as they attempt to steal forbidden spells, outwit bloodthirsty demons, suffer the consequences of cutting class, find dangers lurking in the eternally shifting halls of the Keep, and even travel through time!
Crazy 8 Press is comprised of an august body of veteran storytellers, including Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Paul Kupperberg, and Aaron Rosenberg. Each of them contributed a smart and delightful tale to this collection introduced by SF writer, Kevin Dilmore.
Even the book itself boasts a fascinating genesis. It was at the 33rd annual Shore Leave science fiction convention in Maryland where--prompted by an opening line provided by Dilmore--Peter, Michael, Bob, Glenn, Aaron, and Howard Weinstein took turns writing a story all the while tucked in a small alcove in the lower hallway of the hotel. In full view of the public, these talented craftsmen created the engaging novella Demon Circle as a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. That story is also included in Tales of the Crimson Keep.
I find anthologies to be the best of all worlds: lots of writers, lots of different stories and styles, lots of ways to look at things. But...if someone were to make me choose from the Keep's stories, I'd have to pick Paul Kupperberg's "The Wee Folk at the End of the Hall," though I'd also have to give kudos to Michael Jan Friedman's "The Seeming" for improving my vocabulary! And, wait, I liked Russ Colchamiro's "Thief in the Night," too. So many stories....
I was disappointed only in the editing, as I expected much better from the team of pros who put this book together. I want to say it didn't deter from my enjoyment of the book, but, well, it kinda did, as there was no story free of typos.