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There is a sickness in the land. Prophets tell of the fall of empires, the rise of champions. Great beasts stir in vaults beneath the hills, beneath the waves. Armies mass. Gods walk. The world will be torn asunder.

Epic fantasy is storytelling at its biggest and best. From the creation myths and quest sagas of ancient times to the mega-popular fantasy novels of today, these are the stories that express our greatest hopes and fears, that create worlds so rich we long to return to them again and again, and that inspire us with their timeless values of courage and friendship in the face of ultimate evil—tales that transport us to the most ancient realms and show us the most noble sacrifices, the most astonishing wonders.

Now acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead) brings you seventeen tales by today’s leading authors of epic fantasy, including George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire), Ursula K. Le Guin (Earthsea), Robin Hobb (Realms of Elderlings), Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars), Tad Williams (Of Memory, Sorrow & Thorn), Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle), and more.

Return again to lands you’ve loved or visit magical new worlds. Victory against the coming darkness is never certain, but one thing’s for sure—your adventure will be epic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616960841
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication date: 10/05/2012
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 875,102
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

John Joseph Adams is the best-selling editor of Wastelands, The Living Dead, and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. Hailed as “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes &, he has been nominated for the World Fantasy and Hugo awards. Adams is also the editor and publisher of Lightspeed Magazine and is the co-host of The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

Read an Excerpt


Legends of Fantasy

By John Joseph Adams

Tachyon Publications

Copyright © 2012 John Joseph Adams
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61696-084-1



Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb (a/k/a Megan Lindholm) is the author of The Realm of the Elderlings epic fantasy series, which is comprised of several subseries, including The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders, The Tawny Man, and The Rain Wilds Chronicles. Her most recently published book is City of Dragons, the third volume of The Rain Wilds Chronicles, published in February 2012. Her recent publications include The Inheritance and Other Stories, incorporating shorter pieces of fiction published under both of her pseudonyms. Blood of Dragons is the concluding volume of The Rain Wilds Chronicles. It will be published in March of 2013. Robin Hobb currently resides in Tacoma, Washington.

Day the 7th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

Confiscated from me this day, without cause or justice, were five crates and three trunks. This occurred during the loading of the ship Venture, setting forth upon Satrap Esclepius' noble endeavor to colonize the Cursed Shores. Contents of the crates are as follows: One block fine white marble, of a size suitable for a bust, two blocks Aarthian Jade, sizes suitable for busts, one large fine soapstone, as tall as a man and as wide as a man, seven large copper ingots, of excellent quality, three silver ingots, of acceptable quality, and three kegs of wax. One crate contained scales, tools for the working of metal and stone, and measuring equipment. Contents of trunks are as follows: Two silk gowns, one blue, one pink, tailored by Seamstress Wista and bearing her mark. A dress-length of mille-cloth, green. Two shawls, one white wool, one blue linen. Several pairs hose, in winter and summer weights. Three pairs of slippers, one silk and worked with rosebuds. Seven petticoats, three silk, one linen and three wool. One bodice frame, of light bone and silk. Three volumes of poetry, written in my own hand. A miniature by Soiji, of myself, Lady Carillion Carrock, nee Waljin, commissioned by my mother, Lady Arston Waljin, on the occasion of my 14th birthday. Also included were clothing and bedding for a baby, a girl of four years and two boys, of six and ten years, including both winter and summer garb for formal occasions.

I record this confiscation so that the thieves can be brought to justice upon my return to Jamaillia City. The theft was in this manner: As our ship was being loaded for departure, cargo belonging to various nobles aboard the vessels was detained upon the docks. Captain Triops informed us that our possessions would be held, indefinitely, in the Satrap's custody. I do not trust the man, for he shows neither my husband nor myself proper deference. So I make this record, and when I return this coming spring to Jamaillia City, my father, Lord Crion Waljin, will bring my complaint before the Satrap's Court of Justice, as my husband seems little inclined to do so. This do I swear.

Lady Carillion Waljin Carrock

* * *

Day the 10th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

Conditions aboard the ship are intolerable. Once more, I take pen to my journal to record the hardship and injustice to preserve a record so that those responsible may be punished. Although I am nobly born, of the house of Waljin, and although my lord husband is not only noble, but heir to the title of

Lord Carrock, the quarters given us are no better than those allotted to the common emigrants and speculators, that is, a smelly space in the ship's hold. Only the common criminals, chained in the deepest holds, suffer more than we do. The floor is a splintery wooden deck, the walls are the bare planks of the ship's hull. There is much evidence that rats were the last inhabitants of this compartment. We are treated no better than cattle. There are no separate quarters for my maid, so I must suffer her to bed almost alongside us! To preserve my children from the common brats of the emigrants, I have sacrificed three damask hangings to curtain off a space. Those people accord me no respect. I believe that they are surreptitiously plundering our stores of food. When they mock me, my husband bids me ignore them. This has had a dreadful effect on my servant's behavior. This morning, my maid, who also serves as a nanny in our reduced household, spoke almost harshly to young Petrus, bidding him be quiet and cease his questions. When I rebuked her for it, she dared to raise her brows at me.

My visit to the open deck was a waste of time. It is cluttered with ropes, canvas and crude men, with no provisions for ladies and children to take the air. The sea was boring, the view only distant foggy islands. I found nothing there to cheer me as this detestable vessel bears me ever farther away from the lofty white spires of Blessed Jamaillia City, sacred to Sa.

I have no friends aboard the ship to amuse or comfort me in my heaviness. Lady Duparge has called on me once, and I was civil, but the differences in our station make conversation difficult. Lord Duparge is heir to little more than his title, two ships and one estate that borders on Gerfen Swamp. Ladies Crifton and Anxory appear content with one another's company and have not called upon me at all. They are both too young to have any accomplishments to share, yet their mothers should have instructed them in their social responsibility to their betters. Both might have profited from my friendship upon our return to Jamaillia City. That they choose not to court my favor does not speak well of their intellect. Doubtless they would bore me.

I am miserable in these disgusting surroundings. Why my husband has chosen to invest his time and finances in this venture eludes me. Surely men of a more adventurous nature would better serve our Illustrious Satrap in this exploration. Nor can I understand why our children and myself must accompany him, especially in my condition. I do not think my husband gave any thought to the difficulties this voyage would pose for a woman gravid with child. As ever, he has not seen fit to discuss his decisions with me, no more than I would consult him on my artistic pursuits. Yet my ambitions must suffer to allow him to pursue his! My absence will substantially delay the completion of my "Suspended Chimes of Stone and Metal." The Satrap's brother will be most disappointed, for the installation was to have honored his thirtieth birthday.

* * *

Day the 15th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

I have been foolish. No. I have been deceived. It is not foolishness to trust where one has every right to expect trustworthiness. When my father entrusted my hand and my fate to Lord Jathan Carrock, he believed he was a man of wealth, substance, and reputation. My father blessed Sa's name that my artistic accomplishments had attracted a suitor of such lofty stature. When I bewailed the fate that wed me to a man so much my senior, my mother counseled me to accept it and to pursue my art and establish my reputation in the shelter of his influence. I honored their wisdom. For these last ten years, as my youth and beauty faded in his shadow, I have borne him three children, and bear beneath my heart the burgeoning seed of yet another. I have been an ornament and a blessing to him, and yet he has deceived me. When I think of the hours spent managing his household, hours I could have devoted to my art, my blood seethes with bitterness.

Today, I first entreated, and then, in the throes of my duty to provide for my children, demanded that he force the captain to give us better quarters. Sending our three children out onto the deck with their nanny, he confessed that we were not willing investors in the Satrap's colonization plan but exiles given a chance to flee our disgrace. All we left behind, estates, homes, precious possessions, horses, cattle ... all are forfeit to the Satrap, as are the items seized from us as we embarked. My genteel respectable husband is a traitor to our gentle and beloved Satrap and a plotter against the Throne Blessed by Sa.

I won this admittance from him, bit by bit. He kept saying I should not bother about the politics, that it was solely his concern. He said a wife should trust her husband to manage their lives. He said that by the time the ships re-supply our settlement next spring, he would have redeemed our fortune and we would return to Jamaillian society. But I kept pressing my silly woman's questions. All your holdings seized? I asked him. All? And he said it was done to save the Carrock name, so that his parents and younger brother can live with dignity, untarnished by the scandal. A small estate remains for his brother to inherit. The Satrap's Court will believe that Jathan Carrock chose to invest his entire fortune in the Satrap's venture. Only those in the Satrap's innermost circle know it was a confiscation. To win this concession, Jathan begged many hours on his knees, humbling himself and pleading forgiveness.

He went on at great length about that, as if I should be impressed. But I cared nothing for his knees. "What of Thistlebend?" I asked. "What of the cottage by the ford there, and the monies from it?" This I brought to him as my marriage portion, and humble though it is, I thought to see it passed to Narissa when she wed.

"Gone," he said. "All gone."

"But why?" I demanded. "I have not plotted against the Satrap. Why am I punished?"

Angrily, he said I was his wife and of course I would share his fate. I did not see why, he could not explain it, and finally told me that such a foolish woman could never understand, and bid me hold my tongue, not flap it and show my ignorance. When I protested that I am not a fool, but a well-known artist, he told me that I am now a colonist's wife, and to put my artistic pretenses out of my head.

I bit my tongue to keep from shrieking at him. But within me, my heart screams in fury against this injustice. Thistlebend, where my little sisters and I waded in the water and plucked lilies to pretend we were goddesses and those our white and gold scepters ... Gone for Jathan Carrock's treacherous idiocy.

I had heard rumors of a discovered conspiracy against the Satrap. I paid no attention. I thought it had nothing to do with me. I would say that the punishment was just, if I and my innocent babes were not ensnared in the same net that has trapped the plotters. All the confiscated wealth has financed this expedition. The disgraced nobles were forced to join a Company composed of speculators and explorers. Worse, the banished criminals in the hold, the thieves and whores and ruffians, will be released to join our company when we disembark. Such will be the society around my tender children.

Our Blessed Satrap has generously granted us a chance to redeem ourselves. Our Magnificent and Most Merciful Satrap has granted each man of the company two hundred leffers of land, to be claimed anywhere along the banks of the Rain Wild River that is our boundary with barbarous Chalced, or along the Cursed Shores. He directs us to establish our first settlement on the Rain Wild River. He chose this site for us because of the ancient legends of the Elder Kings and their Harlot Queens. Long ago, it is said, their wondrous cities lined the river. They dusted their skin with gold and wore jewels above their eyes. So the tales say. Jathan said that an ancient scroll, showing their settlements, has recently been translated. I am skeptical.

In return for this chance to carve out new fortunes for ourselves and redeem our reputations, Our Glorious Satrap Esclepius asks only that we cede to him half of all that we find or produce there. In return, the Satrap will shelter us under his protective hand, prayers will be offered for our well-being, and twice yearly his revenue ships will visit our settlement to be sure we prosper. A Charter for our Company, signed by the Satrap's own hand, promises this.

Lords Anxory, Crifton and Duparge share in our disgrace, though as lesser lords, they had less far to fall. There are other nobles aboard the other two ships of our fleet, but no one I know well. I rejoice that my dear friends do not share my fate yet I mourn that I enter exile alone. I will not count upon my husband for comfort in the disaster he has brought upon us. Few secrets are kept long at court. Is that why none of my friends came to the docks to bid me farewell?

My own mother and sister had little time to devote to my packing and farewells. They wept as they bade me farewell from my father's home, not even accompanying me to the filthy docks where this ship of banishment awaited me. Why, oh Sa, did they not tell me the truth of my fate?

At that thought, a hysteria fell upon me, so that I trembled and wept, with occasional shrieks bursting from me whether I would or no. Even now, my hands tremble so violently that this desperate scrawl wanders the page. All is lost to me, home, loving parents, and most crushing, the art that gave me joy in life. The half-finished works I left behind will never be completed, and that pains me as much as a child still-born. I live only for the day that I can return to gracious Jamaillia by the sea. At this moment, forgive me Sa, I long to do so as a widow. Never will I forgive Jathan Carrock. Bile rises in my throat at the thought that my children must wear this traitor's name.

* * *

Day the 24th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

Darkness fills my soul; this voyage to exile has lasted an eternity. The man I must call husband orders me to better manage our household, but I scarcely have the spirit to take up my pen. The children weep, quarrel and complain endlessly, and my maid makes no effort to amuse them. Daily her contempt grows. I would slap her disrespectful scowl from her face if I had the strength. Despite my pregnancy, she lets the children tug at me and demand my attention. All know a woman in my condition should experience a serene existence. Yesterday afternoon, when I tried to rest, she left the children napping beside me while she went out to dally with a common sailor. I awoke to Narissa crying and had to arise and sing to her until she calmed. She complains of a painful belly and a sore throat. No sooner was she settled than both Petrus and Carlmin awoke and started some boyish tussling that completely frayed my spirit. I was exhausted and at the edge of hysteria before she returned. When I chided her for neglecting her duties, she saucily replied that her own mother reared nine children with no servants to aid her. As if such common drudgery were something I should aspire to! Were there anyone else to fulfil her duties, I would send her packing.

And where is Lord Carrock through all of this? Why, out on deck, consulting with the very nobles who led him into disgrace.

The food grows ever worse and the water tastes foul, but our cowardly captain will not put into shore to seek better. My maid says that her sailor has told her that the Cursed Shore is well named, and that evil befalls those who land there as surely as it befell those who once lived there. Can even Captain Triops believe such superstitious nonsense?

* * *

Day the 27th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

We are battered by storm. The ship reeks of the vomit of the miserable inhabitants of its bowels. The constant lurching stirs the foul waters of the bilge, so that we must breathe their stench. The captain will not allow us out on the deck at all. The air down here is damp and thick, and the beams drip water on us. Surely, I have died and entered some heathen afterlife of punishment.

Yet in all this wet, there is scarcely enough water for drinking, and none for washing. Clothing and bedding soiled with sickness must be rinsed out in seawater that leaves it stiff and stained with salt. Little Narissa has been most miserable of the children. She has ceased vomiting but has scarcely stirred from her pallet today, poor little creature. Please, Sa, let this horrid rocking and sloshing end soon.

* * *

Day the 29th of the Fish Moon

Year the 14th of the reign of the Most Noble and Magnificent Satrap Esclepius

My child is dead. Narissa, my only daughter, is gone. Sa, have mercy upon me, and visit your justice upon treacherous Lord Jathan Carrock, for his evil has been the cause of all my woe! They wrapped my little girl in canvas and sent her and two others into the waters, and the sailors scarce paused in their labors to notice their passing. I think I went a little mad then. Lord Carrock seized me in his arms when I tried to follow her into the sea. I fought him, but he was too strong for me. I remain trapped in this life his treachery has condemned me to endure.


Excerpted from Epic by John Joseph Adams. Copyright © 2012 John Joseph Adams. Excerpted by permission of Tachyon Publications.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword Brent Weeks,
Introduction John Joseph Adams,
Homecoming Robin Hobb,
The Word of Unbinding Ursula K. Le Guin,
The Burning Man Tad Williams,
As the Wheel Turns Aliette de Bodard,
The Alchemist Paolo Bacigalupi,
Sandmagic Orson Scott Card,
The Road to Levinshir Patrick Rothfuss,
Rysn Brandon Sanderson,
While the Gods Laugh Michael Moorcock,
Mother of All Russiya Melanie Rawn,
Riding the Shore of the River of Death Kate Elliott,
Bound Man Mary Robinette Kowal,
The Narcomancer N. K. Jemisin,
Strife Lingers in Memory Carrie Vaughn,
The Mad Apprentice Trudi Canavan,
Otherling Juliet Marillier,
The Mystery Knight George R. R. Martin,
Acknowledgements and Copyright Information,

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"At over 600 pages, Epic: Legends of Fantasy will definitely get you your money's worth and the seventeen stories inside will help satisfy your epic fantasy cravings, or possibly leave you wanting more." —

"For newcomers and fans of the genre, this solid collection offers a strong sampler of short fiction by 17 masters and rising stars of epic fantasy. . . . An excellent showcase of epic fantasy at its best." —Library Journal (December 2012)

"Epic: Legends of Fantasy is both wonderful PR for the genre and a gateway drug to whole new realms." —

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