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Dark and Stormy Knights
Edited by P.N. Elrod
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Drew Bittner
St. Martin's Griffin Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312598341
Date: 20 July 2010 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

There are those who step into the darkness and battle monsters. Their reasons (and their weapons) may vary, but the dangers are real. These are their stories.

In Dark and Stormy Knights, P.N. Elrod collects some really terrific stories of folk who stand between unsuspecting humanity and the monsters. The line-up includes heavyweights like Jim (The Dresden Files) Butcher, Ilona (The Edge) Andrews, Carrie (Kitty Norville) Vaughn and more.

The lead-off story, Ilona Andrews' "A Questionable Client," has Atlanta's Kate Daniels protecting a shapeshifter. Who wants him dead and why? Unless she can unravel the truth behind this assignment, without much help from the client himself, it's going to be a very long night...

Butcher's "Even Hand" follows a siege of Gentleman Johnny Marcone's office, as a young woman begs for his help against a troll. It's a terrific story with a very unexpected twist (or maybe revelation is a better word) lurking at the end.

Shannon Butcher has an equally terrific story in "The Beacon", wherein a gunman must hunt down and kill those who unwittingly draw terrible monsters to Earth. One snowy night, he's faced with a brutal dilemma: What do you do when the beacon is an innocent child?

In "Even a Rabbit Will Bite," the world's last dragonslayer seeks an apprentice and tackles the world's last dragon. But even for a hunter as experienced as Lisel, the prey has more than a few surprises in store.

Elrod herself brings her series' hero, vampire Jack Fleming, into the mix in "Dark Lady", wherein he has to help a bad situation, apparently an engagement with serious money problems, as it escalates into something truly horrible.

And Carrie Vaughn's monster-hunter Cormac has his hands full when he's on the trail of a werewolf. But how does one go about finding a werewolf hidden among the girls in a Catholic school? And what will he do when he learns who it is?

These and many other stories comprise a great anthology built around a simple yet elegant theme. None of the heroes in these stories are really paragons--there are no saints here--but they do what's right for their own reasons. Readers looking for a sampler of entertaining urban fantasy would be well advised to give this book their time and attention.


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