I like very much the central concept of the anthology – collecting stories in which men (and sometimes gods) pit their strength, spirit and wits against the power of dragons.
This is a welcome return to stories in which the dragon was the adversary, an expression of power hostile (or alien) to our mindset and civilization.
After so many stories of good dragons portrayed as an endangered species1, it’s good to have the dragon back as the bad guy.
The civilization factor is also important – dragons and humans face each other in these stories across the ages and the historical periods, tracing an evolution of the relationship between Dragon and Man.
Thus the earlier stories in the volume are “heroic fantasy” at its most mythical and lyrical, reading almost as retelling of ancient myths.
I admit these are the stories I enjoyed the most so far – both for the themes and the writing style.
But you know me, I’m a sucker for historical and pseudo-historical fantasies.
Further on, we shift in the fields of sword & sorcery and more muscular fantasy, and then to modern-day fantasy, but always maintaining an extremely high level: these stories are wonderfully written, they deliver the heroic element as promised, and can surprise even long-time fantasy readers.
It’s very nice to find an anthology which is virtually devoid of duds and filler.
The contributors roster lines up a fine selection of authors: Janet Morris and Chris Morris, S. E. Lindberg, Walter Rhein, Cas Peace, Jack William Finley, A.L. Butcher, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis, M Harold Page, William Hiles, Beth W.Patterson, Bruce Durham, and Mark Finn.
This is a beautiful book, and there’s a second one in the works, or so they tell me.
Life is good.
- mind you, nothing wrong with that, as long as the story’s well written. ↩