Friday 2 June 2023

Swords and Maidens Eleven Tales of Chivalry and Valor - edited by N.R. LaPoint

Swords and Maidens: Eleven Tales of Chivalry and Valor
N.R. LaPoint (Editor)
ISBN 9798387724152
eISBN 1230006254940

I picked up this volume mainly because of a contribution by Declan Finn. I have been reading about a book a week of his for almost a year now. And was now branching out to anthologies he had contributed to. I had previously read stories by Michael Gallagher and L. Jagi Lamplighter. I also have already picked up a novel by John C. Wright that because of reading his story in this collection jumped way up on my reading list. I love reading anthologies mainly to be introduced to new authors. The Authors who contributed to this volume are:

The stories in the book are:

Wings of Ether - T.J. Marquis
The Shrouded Tower - Michael Gallagher
The Winged Horse - Hawkings Austin
Three Swords - Blake Carpenter
Harem Fantasy in Another World - John C. Wright
Azrael - N.R. LaPoint
Crazy Like an Elf - Declan Finn
The Gift - Anne Clare
The Supercomputers of Rai - Alexander Hellene
Vivre Le Patriarchy! - L. Jagi Lamplighter
Judgement Sun - J.D. Cowan

The description of the volume is:

“From magic battlefields where horses fear to tread, to flying fortresses, fantastical otherworlds, a planet infested with eldritch abominations, and lands ruled by fear, heroes will fight for what is worth fighting for. Knights in gleaming armor, soldiers, Middle Earth’s most deadly Elvish assassin, hunters, and kings. All will risk their lives to defend the defenseless, to destroy monsters, to preserve the lives and honor of fair maidens.

See a soldier fight to rescue a besieged princess from marauding, magitech barbarians, an immortal knight fight for a farmstead, a husband and wife fight for the honor of a fallen comrade against a deadly dragon, a hunter seek to recover a maiden’s stolen soul, an elf defend a woman from assassins, a deposed king fight for his kingdom, and more!”

Normally when I read an anthology there is one or two standout stories. And sometimes a dud or two. This time all the stories were great. I was very impressed with the storytelling in the whole collection. I especially appreciated Finn’s piece, I was unaware it was previously published in the Planetary Anthology Series, Luna, I have picked those up but have not get to them yet. But reading his story was like jumping back and reading the Convention Killings stories, or like visiting with an old friend. The twist towards the end of Harem Fantasy in Another World by John W. Wright literally knotted up my stomach. Ahh gram. A stand out story was Three Swords by Blake Carpenter. But as mention all the stories left me wanting to read more in the world or by the author. 

I had pre-ordered this book, with the ASIN B0BVGCC2MK, a month later I noted the book was unpurchased and I picked it up again ASIN B0BZZ4FDYY. I bought the book Twice and have two different downloads. The formatting on the second was much better, especially for using adaptive technology; Text To Speech, to listen to the book, but overall still a little frustrating. However the stories in the volume were worth even double the price. 

This is an excellent collection of short stories. I really appreciated all of the pieces. I can easily recommend this anthology for anyone who loves short form fiction, fantasy, or just great writing. Pick it up I am certain there will be an author or half dozen you want to investigate further.

Note: For all reviews of Anthologies click here.
For All reviews of books by or contributed to by Declan Finn click here.

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