Legends II: New Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy

Legends II: New Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy

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by Robert Silverberg

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Fantasy fans, rejoice! Seven years after writer and editor Robert Silverberg made publishing history with Legends, his acclaimed anthology of original short novels by some of the greatest writers in fantasy fiction, the long-awaited second volume is here. Legends II picks up where its illustrious predecessor left off. All of the bestselling writers…  See more details below


Fantasy fans, rejoice! Seven years after writer and editor Robert Silverberg made publishing history with Legends, his acclaimed anthology of original short novels by some of the greatest writers in fantasy fiction, the long-awaited second volume is here. Legends II picks up where its illustrious predecessor left off. All of the bestselling writers represented in Legends II return to the special universe of the imagination that its author has made famous throughout the world. Whether set before or after events already recounted elsewhere, whether featuring beloved characters or compelling new creations, these masterful short novels are both mesmerizing stand-alones—perfect introductions to the work of their authors—and indispensable additions to the epics on which they are based. Beyond any doubt, Legends II is the fantasy event of the season.

ROBIN HOBB returns to the Realm of the Elderlings with “Homecoming,” a powerful tale in which exiles sent to colonize the Cursed Shores find themselves sinking into an intoxicating but deadly dream . . . or is it a memory?
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN continues the adventures of Dunk, a young hedge knight, and his unusual squire, Egg, in “The Sworn Sword,” set a generation before the events in A Song of Ice and Fire.
ORSON SCOTT CARD tells a tale of Alvin Maker and the mighty Mississippi, featuring a couple of ne’er-do-wells named Jim Bowie and Abe Lincoln, in “The Yazoo Queen.”
DIANE GABALDON turns to an important character from her Outlander saga—Lord John Grey—in “Lord John and the Succubus,” a supernatural thriller set in the early days of the Seven Years War.
ROBERT SILVERBERG spins an enthralling tale of Majipoor’s early history—and remote future—as seen through the eyes of a dilettantish poet who discovers an unexpected destiny in “The Book of Changes.”
TAD WILLIAMS explores the strange afterlife of Orlando Gardiner, from his Otherland saga, in “The Happiest Dead Boy in the World.”
ANNE McCAFFREY shines a light into the most mysterious and wondrous of all places on Pern in the heartwarming “Beyond Between.”
RAYMOND E. FEIST turns from the great battles of the Riftwar to the story of one soldier, a young man about to embark on the ride of his life, in “The Messenger.”
ELIZABETH HAYDON tells of the destruction of Serendair and the fate of its last defenders in “Threshold,” set at the end of the Third Age of her Symphony of Ages series.
NEIL GAIMAN gives us a glimpse into what befalls the man called Shadow after the events of his Hugo Award–winning novel American Gods in “The Monarch of the Glen.”
TERRY BROOKS adds an exciting epilogue to The Wishsong of Shannara in “Indomitable,” the tale of Jair Ohmsford’s desperate quest to complete the destruction of the evil Ildatch . . . armed only with the magic of illusion.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brimming with action and energy, wit and charm, pathos and joy, Silverberg's anthology of short novels from 11 masters of fantasy, six of whom contributed to the original Legends (1998), provides a dazzling display of the genre's variety and versatility. Otherland fans will welcome Tad Williams's The Happiest Dead Boy in the World as a chance to visit with an old friend they never thought to see again. George R.R. Martin's The Sworn Sword, which continues the story of Dunk and Egg that he began in the first Legends, will also please his readers. All the returning authors more than live up to their reputations, except for Anne McCaffrey, whose Beyond Between, an ill-conceived explanation of what happens when a dragon fails to return from between, strikes the book's lone sour note. Yet for all the returnees' star power, it's the new authors who truly shine here. Elizabeth Haydon's entry, Threshold, follows five doomed friends left to guard the remnants of a civilization about to be destroyed in a cataclysm after most of the populace has already fled to a safe haven: a stunning tale of courage and honor, duty and friendship, it may be the book's best entry. Robin Hobb's Homecoming, the story of the settlement of the Rain Wild River and one woman's journey to independence, is the other contender. Terry Brooks, Diana Gabaldon, Raymond E. Feist, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman and Silverberg round out the all-star cast. (Jan. 2) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The first book, Legends (Tor, 1998/VOYA April 1999), was regarded as a definitive anthology of modern fantasy, but there are always new stories to tell and new writers to tell them. Many contributors return here, and each entry introduces the author's special universe, indicates how the story fits, and helpfully lists all the novels set in that universe. In Orson Scott Card's The Yazoo Queen, Alvin Maker encounters slaves and Jim Bowie. The Messenger by Raymond E. Feist features a messenger from The Riftwar series, battling war and pneumonia to carry out his task. George R. R. Martin contributes The Sworn Sword, the adventures of a dragon boy squire one hundred years before the novels set in the universe of Ice and Fire. Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern features in Beyond Between, a tale that asks what really happened to the legendary Moretta. The land of Majipoor is the setting for Silverberg's story of a young prince and poet held captive by an outlaw lord who demands an epic poem in The Book of Changes. Tad Williams's Otherland series stars in The Happiest Dead Boy in the World, where a boy with an incurable disease continues to live online. Terry Brooks, who did not appear in the first collection, offers Indomitable, a sequel to a Shannara story about young Jair, who learns that a book of Ildatch survived and he must return to Graymark to destroy it. Other contributors are Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Hayden, Diana Gabaldon, and Robin Hobb. Along with its predecessor, this anthology is a treat for fans and a wonderful way to introduce newcomers to the fantasy worlds created by eleven masters. VOYA CODES: 5Q 3P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Will appeal with pushing;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Del Rey, 642p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Bonnie Kunzel
Library Journal
From Robin Hobb's tale about a group of colonists abandoned by their home country a hostile and magical wilderness (Homecoming) to editor Silverberg's story, set in the early period of the vast continent of Majipoor (The Book of Changes), the 11 novellas collected here provide an exclusive look at some of fantasy's most popular imaginary worlds. Following the pattern of last year's best-selling Legends, this outstanding volume contains original tales by Anne McCaffrey, Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Diana Gabaldon, and other major genre writers. Essential for all libraries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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The first Legends anthology, which was published in 1998, contained eleven never-before-published short novels by eleven best-selling fantasy writers, each story set in the special universe of the imagination that its author had made famous throughout the world. It was intended as the definitive anthology of modern fantasy, and–judging by the reception the book received from readers worldwide–it succeeded at that.

And now comes Legends II. If the first book was definitive, why do another one?

The short answer is that fantasy is inexhaustible. There are always new stories to tell, new writers to tell them; and no theme, no matter how hoary, can ever be depleted.

As I said in the introduction to the first volume, fantasy is the oldest branch of imaginative literature–as old as the human imagination itself. It is not difficult to believe that the same artistic impulse that produced the extraordinary cave paintings of Lascaux and Altamira and Chauvet, fifteen and twenty and even thirty thousand years ago, also probably produced astounding tales of gods and demons, of talismans and spells, of dragons and werewolves, of wondrous lands beyond the horizon–tales that fur-clad shamans recited to fascinated audiences around the campfires of Ice Age Europe. So, too, in torrid Africa, in the China of prehistory, in ancient India, in the Americas: everywhere, in fact, on and on back through time for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. I like to think that the storytelling impulse is universal–that there have been storytellers as long as there have been beings in this world that could be spoken of as “human�–and that those storytellers have in particular devoted their skills and energies and talents, throughout our long evolutionary path, to the creation of extraordinary marvels and wonders. The Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh is a tale of fantasy; so, too, is Homer’s Odyssey, and on and on up through such modern fantasists as E. R. Eddison, A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, and J. R. R. Tolkien, and all the great science-fiction writers from Verne and Wells to our own time. (I include science fiction because science fiction, as I see it, belongs firmly in the fantasy category: It is a specialized branch of fantasy, a technology-oriented kind of visionary literature in which the imagination is given free play for the sake of making the scientifically impossible, or at least the implausible, seem altogether probable.)

Many of the contributors to the first Legends were eager to return to their special worlds of fantasy for a second round. Several of them raised the subject of a new anthology so often that finally I began to agree with them that a second book would be a good idea. And here it is. Six writers–Orson Scott Card, George R. R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, Anne McCaffrey, Tad Williams, and myself–have returned from the first one. Joining them are four others–Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Haydon, Diana Gabaldon, and Neil Gaiman–who have risen to great fame among fantasy enthusiasts since the first anthology was published, and one grand veteran of fantasy, Terry Brooks, who had found himself unable at the last minute to participate in the first volume of Legends but who joins us for this one.

My thanks are due once again to my wife, Karen, and to my literary agent, Ralph Vicinanza, both of whom aided me in all sorts of ways in the preparation of this book, and, of course, to all the authors who came through with such splendid stories. I acknowledge also a debt of special gratitude to Betsy Mitchell of Del Rey Books, whose sagacious advice and unfailing good cheer were essential to the project. Without her help this book most literally would not have come into being.

–Robert Silverberg
February 2003

From the Hardcover edition.

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Legends II 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 12 reviews.
FunGuyFungi More than 1 year ago
Overall, the different short stories are really high quality. I'm not sure why they split this one up in to two different books, but both are definitely worth a read. Unlike the first Legends, this one doesn't have any worthless stories (such as Runner of Pern in the first one). Definitely worth it for fantasy fans.
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brjunkie More than 1 year ago
I only read 2 of the short novels. "The Messenger" by Raymond E. Feist, which was okay. And, "Indomitable" by Terry Brooks. It was an epilogue to The Wishsong of Shannara, and I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
LEGENDS II contains eleven novellas written by fantasy authors in the realms they created that in turn made them famous as these authors are instantly recognizable by the worlds they have fashioned. These include Robert Silverberg¿s Majipoor, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, OTHERLAND by Tad Williams, Raymond E. Feist¿s Riftwar, Orson Scott Card¿s Alvin Maker and the American Gods by cult favorite Neil Gaiman. Toss in orbs by Robin Hobbs, Elizabeth Hayden, and other sub-genre who¿s who in a wonderful buffet and one can feast for a long time.............................. For instance, Diana Gabaldon takes a minor character from her renowned Outlander series and makes him a star in his own mysteries as Lord John investigates murder by a succubus in the middle of war with the enemy surrounding him. No anthology about other realms would be complete without a story about Pern and Anne McCaffrey obliges with a plague sweeping Pern with the dragonriders teleporting from place to place and between times to inoculate everyone. Moreta, riding one of her weyr¿s queens and her dragon are lost between times and must find a way to come home. Readers will be delighted with the last story ¿Indomitable¿ a Shannara story in which Jair Ohnsford learns that his adventures are still happening though he thought he could retires once he burned the book of the Ildoch at Greymard. Unfortunately, he failed to destroy a page........................ LEGENDS II is a sampling of many of the magical worlds of fantasy........................... Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading an excerpt of this book on Terry's website. It looks good. Even though it is a short story, I have faith that it will live up to the standards of Terry's other books.