Edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765320483
Date: 16 March 2010 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Since the beginning of time, some people have put themselves forward and fought for themselves and others. There was a time when writers weren’t categorized into a genre. This anthology allows writers across genres to write about warriors and hopefully introduce themselves to a wider audience.
There are 20 stories collected. Only a few of them are set in long standing worlds. There is an all star cast. The stories, in order of appearance, are authored by Cecelia Holland, Joe Haldeman, Robin Hobb, Lawrence Bloch, Tad Williams, Joe Lansdale, Peter S. Beagle, Diana Gabaldon, Naomi Novik, Steven Saylor, James Rollins, David Weber, Carrie Vaughn, S.M Stirling, Howard Waldrop, Gardner Dozois, David Morrell, Robert Silverberg, David Ball, and George R.R. Martin.
Fans of a few series won’t be disappointed. The fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series will be happy to see a new Dunk and Egg story which has an adventure that feels a bit like “The Hedge Knight.” S.M. Stirling shares a tale from his Emberverse set in the area once controlled by Russia, where two warriors meet and work together to save a princess. Diana Gabaldon fills in part of the history of Lord John with his adventures during the siege of Quebec.
The tales are from the past and future. “The Pit” by James Rollins is told from the perspective of a dog and isn't for the faint of heart. Joe Haldeman tells a tale of future war that is relevant to today and the issues that some of the unmanned vehicle pilots face daily. There are multiple tales of Rome and her enemies. The Waldrop WWI story is typically enjoyable Waldrop, where you don't get quite what you expect. David Ball has the best villain in the collection.
The story which I felt had the worst fit for the warrior archetype, was by Lawrence Bloch, “Clean Slate.” The story was well written and a good story but I felt the link to warriors was tenuous. The main character was more of a psychopath than a warrior. Her issues were developed over a long time, but her solution wasn't that of a warrior.
The introduction was very interesting. Editor Martin tells about his youth and buying books. Buying books in a grocery store while I was in college was a similar experience. The problem of slotting authors into type is that the audiences get limited and readers miss the opportunity to read quality authors. I read this collection out of order. I skipped to the authors I knew first. To go through all of the stories is more than I can go through in one review. All of the stories are well written and enjoyable. There wasn’t any story I didn’t enjoy. I would have loved to see a Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, or John Maddox Roberts. They all write excellent characters and create stories that could easily fit into this collection. Even so, this is a collection that everyone can enjoy. If you only buy one collection this year, make it this one.