From Publishers Weekly
Veteran fantasists weave a variety of imaginative spells in this fine anthology of 18 original wizardry-themed tales. Neil Gaiman's charming opener, "The Witch's Headstone," introduces a boy raised by the dead and offers a sneak peek at a novel-in-progress. An Icelandic bride in modern Maine makes magic in Elizabeth Hand's outstanding "Winter's Wife." Mary Rosenblum, Patricia A. McKillip, Nancy Kress, Terry Dowling and Gene Wolfe notably conjure up diverse and indelible, coming-of-age stories featuring contemporary teens discovering their true natures. Garth Nix successfully mixes English legends in "Holly and Iron." The prophet Elijah appears as the "wizard" of Jane Yolen's "Slipping Sideways Through Eternity." What goes around comes around, even for wizards and monsters in Jeffrey Ford's "The Manticore Spell." Tad Williams, Peter S. Beagle and Orson Scott Card contribute indifferent stories, but overall this magical brew will enchant young adult readers and their elders as well. (May)
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Wizards have been popular in fantasy at least from Oz to Earthsea, occupying venerated positions as shamans and medicine men in aboriginal cultures stretching back to the Stone Age and forward to fin de siecle Kansas and beyond. In this collection of first-published tales, wizards are the puppet masters of schemes ranging from the amusing to the diabolical. Contributors include such venerable masters as Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, and Gene Wolfe as well as such relative newcomers as Andy Duncan and Jeffrey Ford. Neil Gaiman offers the story of a boy able to communicate with the dead, who assigns himself the obligation of securing a headstone for a deceased witch. In Eoin Colfer's whimsical "A Fowl Tale," a talking dove begs for its next meal by explaining how Merlin gave him a con-artist's sensibilities. Terry Bisson's "Billy and the Wizard" describes an eight-year-old's encounter with a wizard sandwiched between the pages of a magazine. A creative spectrum of tantalizing themes makes the volume versatile and compelling reading for all fantasy fans. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved