Well, the project was successfully funded, although the stretch goals weren’t met. More on that in a bit.
I finished the collection over the weekend, and I can say it was money well spent. There are nine interrelated stories by Lynn Flewelling, Harry Connolly, Todd Lockwood, Juliet McKenna, Mike Tousignant, Martha Wells, Julie Czerneda, Scott Taylor, and Rob Mancebo.
The setting is the city of Taux, a city made of stone. Once a thriving metropolis, something happened the inhabitants which caused them to be imprisoned in the stone. Since that time, humans as well as a number of other races have moved in and tried to make the city their own. They’ve not been completely successful. It’s a city of sorcery, swordplay, and intrigue. There are the Razors, professional duelists who are deadly in all styles of sword fighting. There are the Sturgeons, the name of the constabulary. There are thieves, scoundrels, and ne’er-do-wells. Much of the action centers around the Emerald Serpent, a tavern in the Black Gate district. All of it is exciting, fresh, inventive, and a whole lot of fun.
Most of the stories in this volume take place over the period of a few days or weeks, although some, like “Namesake” by Lynn Flewelling, occur across a span of a few years. Some of the tales contain references to other stories and characters in the book.
There’s not a bad story in the lot, and some of them, such as “Between” by Todd Lockwood and “Charlatan” by Scott Taylor tell of the same events from completely different points of view. The overall effect creates a book that is greater than the sum of its parts. Along with reading some good fiction by old favorites, I’ve discovered some more writers whose work I’ll be reading.
I highly recommend this anthology to fans of good, exciting fantasy, especially fans of the short story. The stretch goals of this anthology would have funded the second and later volumes in the series. The first stretch goal didn’t quite make it. That’s a shame, because I’m really looking forward to reading the next volume, especially after the events of “Footsteps of Blood” by Rob Mancebo, the final story in the book. I’m hoping Scott Taylor produces the second volume anyway. (Pleeaasee!!!)
If you are old enough to remember Thieves World or have read similar books, Tales of the Emerald Serpent is patterned after that series. If that’s your thing, then show your support by ordering a copy today.