Customer Reviews for

Lords of Swords

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    Sword and Sorcery is Back!

    Lords of Swords, edited by Daniel E. Blackston and published by Pitch-Black Publishing, is a welcome breath of fresh air in the field of fantasy. It takes the reader back to the days of Howard, Wagner, Leiber and other masters of heroic, fast paced adventure. Vivid worlds, strong characters, thought-provoking story-lines, swords, sorcery--it has it all. The first in a proposed series of anthologies, `Lords of Swords¿ features thirteen exciting tales running the gamut from straight forward adventure to complicated plotlines that twist and turn. There¿s something for everyone, especially the hardcore fan who has seen this exciting genre drift off the radar over the past years. What follows is a quick synopsis of each story. However, I have spared any personal critiques. Like all anthologies, not all stories will suit all tastes. I¿ll let the reader decide what interests them. Bottom line: `Lords of Swords¿ is highly recommended. The lead story is from John C. Hocking, author of `Conan and the Emerald Lotus¿. Titled `Vali¿s Wound¿, it¿s a compelling tale of a Viking who faces a god in the name of friendship. 'Something Dwells 'Neath Hannah Town' by D. K. Latta starts with a mystery and ends with the hero Kainar facing a much stronger, and seemingly invincible opponent. 'The King's General' by David L. Felts presents a tale of a man who must face his past and make the toughest choice of his life, with grave consequences. 'Line of Blood' by Howard Andrew Jones, author of the highly rated `Dabir and Asim¿ stories, introduces you to Raas and Jekka. Their adventure in a mist covered world involves a dying king and his successors. 'Champion' by Barbara E. Tarbox begins as a simple trip by Sir Argin to the blacksmith to have a horseshoe replaced. As the plot slowly unfolds, the events culminate in a heroic battle. 'That of the Pit' by E.E. Knight, author of the `Vampire Earth¿ stories, introduces a new character known as the Blue Pilgrim. Shrouded in mystery and extremely deadly, the Blue Pilgrim journeys to save a friend. 'Dragon's Eye' by Beth Shope features a finely crafted plot that weaves and twists before merging into a grandly satisfying conclusion. 'Viro and the Iron Circlet' by Jonah Lissner is a straight forward, no holds barred tale of adventure starring a fearless barbarian. 'The Slaying of Winter' by Vera Nazarian tells the story of a relentlessly single-minded woman on a quest to kill a god. 'Iron Hands' by Ray Kane is an engrossing tale of revenge as soldier turned farmer Jerimo suffers extraordinary pain and loss. 'The Oath of the Gods' by Nancy Virginia Varian weaves an epic tale about the dwarf Garroc and his dealings with Hel and Woden. 'Blood Drop' by Joseph A. McCullough V features Stevan the Targeteer in a tale of pirates fighting for a giant red gem in the mysterious Hispanic Isles. 'The Woman in Scarlet¿ by Tanith Lee is about a man `married¿ to his sentient sword, which develops an interest in someone else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2005

    Lords of Swords

    Lords of Swords offers a brand of fantasy missing from bookstores for far too long. It has heroes, swashbuckling action, dread curses and headlong pacing not seen since the heyday of the pulps. Don¿t let that word 'pulp' throw you, the writing is good. This anthology is for readers who miss Conan, who miss Fafhrd and the Mouser, who miss Kane. It echoes the fun and excitement of the pulps, without wallowing in purple prose. There is bloodshed, and deep thought. There are complex heroes, and not-so-complex heroes. 'Lords of Swords' shows the breadth and depth possible within a much-maligned genre. No reader will enjoy every story here. But if the stories mentioned above made your mouth water, you will enjoy most of these. Tanith Lee offers 'The Woman in Scarlet,' a tale of a warrior, a magical sword and their complex, marital relationship. Lee's prose is sharp as ever. 'Vali's Wound' by John C. Hocking tells of Vikings and Valkyrie. In understated prose appropriate to a Viking tale, Hocking's hero faces personal loss and magic with Norse fatalism. 'Dragon's Eye' by Beth Shope offers a woman who yearns for what she lost, a mysterious man and mutually exclusive prophecies. Many threads dovetail together nicely. 'Line of Blood' by Howard Andrew Jones offers a unique setting, fine action and great pacing. Jones lets just enough of the background world slip in to make you feel there is a whole world here, but does not detract from the tale. 'Blood Drop' by Joseph A. McCullough V offers pirates, guns and magic, a combination that sets this action story apart from many. 'The King's General' by David Felts tells of a tough man making tough choices. As you learn what the general did, you¿ll wonder what he'll do. 'Something Dwells 'Neath Hannah Town' by D. K. Latta is a more standard pulp fantasy, with a warrior and his magic talking axe. It's well told, but the final battle reminded me of the old role-playing games table. 'Champion' by Barbara Tarbox offers people who are not what they seem and tale revealed a little at a time. The storytelling tugs you toward a fine bit of battle and magic. 'The Slaying of Winter' by Vera Nazarian is a revenge story -- the hero sets out to kill a god. Then it becomes a tale of clashing cultures that leads to a somewhat hazy metaphysical ending. 'Iron Hands' by Ray Kane is another revenge story with solid action. It evokes the old pulps, without repeating them. 'That of the Pit' by E.E. Knight has perhaps the most intriguing protagonist in the book. He's involved with an underground religion, and there are hints of great things in the background. Yet Knight keeps the focus on his story. 'The Oath of the Gods' by Nancy Virginia Varian veers toward the epic, with promises and gods and a haunting style. 'Viro and the Iron Circlet' by Jonah Lissner is almost an homage to the stock pulp barbarian. If it's pure pulp you want, you'll enjoy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2005

    Lords of Swords

    Lord of Swords, a heroic fantasy anthology edited by Daniel E. Blackston, Pitch-Black Books: Lords of Swords, published by Pitch-Black Publishing, offers a brand of fantastic fiction that has been missing from bookstore shelves for far too long. You will find heroes brave and strong, swashbuckling action, dread curses and headlong pacing not seen since the heyday of the pulps. But don't let that word 'pulp' throw you off despite the raised eyebrows and pinched-shut noses of the literati, this anthology embraces that label for what it represents to those who miss Conan, who miss Fafhrd and the Mouser, who miss Leigh Brackett's Carse. That long missed element, in a word, is heroic fantasy. This anthology offers it in great variety. There is lyrical prose, there is straightforward prose. There is bloodshed, there is deep thought. There are complex heroes, and not-so-complex heroes. That is a strength of 'Lords of Swords,' for it shows the breadth and depth possible within a much-maligned genre. That variety also is a weakness. No one reader is apt to enjoy every story in the book. Of course, that is true of any anthology save those that stick to one author, or offer a series of stories that differ little from one another. 'Lords of Swords' set out to offer variety and show many sides of a fiction that has been missing too long. You won't like everything in the book, but if the long-ago stories mentioned above made your mouth water, be sure that you will enjoy most of these tales. The name that jumps out first is Tanith Lee. She offers here 'The Woman in Scarlet,' a tale of a warrior and his magical sword and a relationship between them that is marital in nature. It's a marriage as complex as any you'll find elsewhere. Lee's prose is sharp as ever, and the setting and characters are pure Tanith Lee. Fans are not likely to be disappointed. The other dozen stories represent a wide scope. Here they are, in no particular order, and I'll try to avoid spoilers. 'Vali's Wound' by John C. Hocking is a tale of Vikings and Valkyrie. In understated prose appropropriate to a Viking tale, Hocking's hero faces a personal loss and Norse mythology with the Norseman's famed fatalism. It's a good read, somewhat evocative of Poul Anderson's work but with a more direct style. 'Dragon's Eye' by Beth Shope offers a look at a young woman who yearns for the home she lost, and a mysterious man who is seeking something. Their goals intersect, but they are leery of one another. They share an adventure of danger and prophecy in which many threads nonetheless dovetail together in a satisying finish. It's a well-done story, the first published from Shope. I'm looking forward to more. 'Line of Blood' by Howard Andrew Jones offers a unique setting, fine action and great pacing. Jones lets just enough of the world surrounding his story slip in to make you feel there is a whole world here, but he does it in a way that is not obtrusive and does not take you out of the story. A fine job, and its a world you'll likely want to revisit. 'Blood Drop' by Joseph A. McCullough V offers pirates, guns and magic, a combination that is fresh and sets the story apart from many others in the genre. It's a fun read, well told. 'The King's General' by David Felts is a story of a tough man making tough choices, with tough consequences for those around him. I'm not a fan of flashbacks, and this tale leans heavily on them, but it's done with a purpose here as the reader learns what the general did in the past, it sets the hook and makes you wonder what he'll do now. A good read. 'Something Dwells 'Neath Hannah Town' by D. K. Latta is a more standard pulp fantasy, with a warrior and his magic talking axe. It's well told, but I fou

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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