I’ve had a copy of Swords & Dark Magic on my shelf since it was published in 2010. Finally, I got around to reading it. Most of these themed collections tend to be uneven. I enjoyed Michael Shea’s “Hew the Tint Master.” It’s another Cugel the Clever pastiche based on Jack Vance’s character from The Dying Earth series. I enjoyed Tanith Lee’s snarky story, “Two Lions, a Witch, and the War-Robe.” Two heroes are sent on a quest with unsettling results. But my favorite story in this anthology is “In the Stacks” by Scott Lynch. Four students of magic face a test in returning books to a living Library of grimoires. Exciting and fun! If you’re in the mood for some sword and sorcery stories, Swords & Dark Magic delivers solid entertainment. GRADE: B
“Introduction: Check Your Dark Lord at the Door” – Lou Anders & Jonathan Strahan xi
“Goats of Glory” – Steven Erikson 1
“Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company” – Glen Cook 41
“Bloodsport” – Gene Wolfe 79
“The Singing Spear” – James Enge 97
“A Wizard of Wiscezan” – C.J. Cherryh 111
“A Rich Full Week” – K. J. Parker 147
“A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet” – Garth Nix 179
“Red Pearls: An Elric Story” – Michael Moorcock 197
“The Deification of Dal Bamore” – Tim Lebbon 253
“Dark Times at the Midnight Market” – Robert Silverberg 279
“The Undefiled” – Greg Keyes 307
“Hew the Tint Master” – Michael Shea 323
“In the Stacks” – Scott Lynch 363
“Two Lions, A Witch, and the War-Robe” – Tanith Lee 413
“The Sea Troll’s Daughter” – Caitlin R Kiernan 449
“Thieves of Daring” – Bill Willingham 481
“The Fool Jobs” – Joe Abercrombie 491
About the Editors 519

17 thoughts on “FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #585: SWORDS & DARK MAGIC: THE NEW SWORD AND SORCERY Edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

      1. george Post author

        Rick, it’s a matter of taste. I’d re-read a book of Conan stories before I’d re-read FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

  1. Michael Padgett

    I’m aware of about half of the authors listed , but Silverberg is the only one I’ve read extensively, and that was his SF. The genres that have mostly captured my attention are crime, science fiction, and horror. Fantasy, not so much. Oh, I’ve read the biggies–LOTR, of course, and a few others. I particularly liked Donaldson’s “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant”, but even there I read the first trilogy and never got to the later additions. I’d never even consider tackling something like the endless “Wheel of Time” series. And this endlessness was the major drawback for me and kept me from getting really involved in the genre. Everything seemed to be at least a trilogy, if not longer, and even the individual books were humongous. By the early Eighties fantasy had lost me completely, and I never went back to it.

    1. george Post author

      Michael, I’m a big fan of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. I also enjoy Michael Moorcock’s early fantasy series: Elric, Hawkmoon, and Corum. Most sword-and-sorcery stories don’t reach that level.

  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    I am familiar with all of these except Bill Willingham. I have this collection but have never got around to reading it. Some of my favorite writers are here :’Silverberg, Wolfe, Shea, and Lee.

  3. wolf

    Maybe it was my indoctrination with SF as a teenager (interested in science and maths) and the sparse amounts of Fantasy available in the late 0s in German which made me ignore Fantasy forever.
    Just not interested …
    When I read some Sword and Sorcery by SF authors I knew I was deeply disappointed …
    My wife however likes and reads Fantasy as much as SF, probably because not too much of both was available in Hungary in Communist times.

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, I much prefer Science Fiction over Fantasy, but occasionally I’m drawn to a Fantasy series like Conan or Elric or Corum.

  4. Todd Mason

    I came to fantastic fiction as a whole mostly as a horror reader as a child, but also read fairy tale fantasy and Seuss as ways to learn to read, and never lost receptivity to good light as well as dark fantasy. Even in 2010, calling this cast of writers The New Face of S&S is stretching things more than a little, though I t least like most of them. Glen Cook at his best in this mode can come as close to Jack Vance as one can, rivaling Michael Shea.

    I will definitely read Peter Beagle writing about unicorns ahead of a number of writers…


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