- File Size: 769 KB
- Print Length: 236 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Inklings Press (April 15, 2017)
- Publication Date: April 15, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XX2LBN1
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,622,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$8.99|
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Tales From The Tower: The collected stories from Year One of Inklings Press Kindle Edition
|Length: 236 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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5 of 5 Stars
This is a combination of two previous anthologies into one volume and it makes an interesting counterpoint to have horror in the same breath as classic fantasy. I am not sure they are always the best of bedfellows, but here they seem to rub along just fine and if you enjoy either genre you will find much in the other to appreciate also.
The anthology opens with ‘The Bear-Trap Grave’ by Brent A. Harris which is written in a colloquial voice and tells the tale of a how an old debt leads to unwanted adventure and explores a lot around friendship, courage and compassion along the way. It is a story with a heart and a soul and I loved it.
The unusual format of ‘True Story’ by Alei Kotdaishura, brings us two retired adventurers telling - or maybe more admitting the truth about - the real story of the adventure that made their names and fortunes, to their adult child. It has a wonderful sparkle of humour which I really enjoyed.
In ‘Battle at Veldhaven’ by Matthew Harvey there is a chance to get your teeth into some really classic high fantasy with magic users and dwarven warriors fighting against the orcs and some fine heroics in an epic battle. Great stuff!
‘It was still a mystery why he had to take a horn, no matter how pretty and shiny it was, to a Specific Place before a Certain Date, but he gave it a deep thought.’
My favourite fantasy story though had to be ‘Silver Horn’ by Ricardo Victoria. It was tongue in cheek from the start and managed to leave me with a smile on my face. This is a story that will appeal to anyone who has ever picked up a twenty-sided dice and rolled it in anger!
The final fantasy tale is ‘A Taste For Battle’ by Leo McBride and is a masterful story of two adventurers, for me somewhat reminiscent of Fitz Lieber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Weasel and Rasten find themselves suffering the result of a drunken promise and fighting a foe that needs wits as much as brawn to defeat.
And so onto the horror selection. Not being a fan of gore-fests, I was delighted that these intelligent, deep and disturbing tales are very far from that. I really enjoyed 'The Chickcharney' by Leo McBride. It has a marvellously 'creeping doom' feeling to it and yet moves away from the usual all-encompassing nastiness of the lurking horror genre and manages to finish on a very thought provoking note.
'Bone Peyote' by Ricardo Victoria, reminded me right away of old school horror from the likes of Machan and Lovecraft. It begins in the same slightly stiff, formal way and slowly breaks out of that that shell as the monstrosities hatch in the reader's imagination. It has all the hallmarks of occult horror with ancient texts, forbidden magic and mysterious rituals. And the sense that once that door has been opened it can never be closed again.
Waking alone in the dark unknown is such a primal fear that it makes the opening of 'The Pillar of Hendarac' by Morgan Porter, very powerful and slowly we uncover the world into which our protagonist has awoken. This is a world unlike our own and the descriptions of it and the fight to preserve it from some dark deific being reminded me of fantasy as much as horror. I have to say the end, although I appreciate what the author was trying to do, left me a little disappointed.
‘...its mouth, at least it would be where a mouth would be on any sane creature of similar bilateral construction, was filled with probosces all running from a central echinoderm-like disk.’
I had two distinct reactions to 'Beast' by Alei Kotdaishura, the first was delight that I was wrong about where the story was going and the second was that this had something very deep to say about the nature of grief and indeed about anyone who suffers from implacable negative emotion. There was a rhythmic cycle of repetition as the days progressed, like a recurring chorus. It was very much a horror story, but it also held an accusing mirror to society in some small and major ways along its path.
Supremely unsettling is the techno-horror from Brent A. Harris, 'The Server of Souls'. It manages to key into something very primal and left me with that same unsettled feeling you have when awakening from a half-remembered nightmare.
Overall this is a really excellent selection of stories and if you enjoy either genre it is well worth the investment - if you enjoy both you are in for an extended treat you can truly savour.