Art by Bruce Pennington
Baen Books’ SHATTERED SHIELDS anthology is coming this November, a feast of military-themed fantasy tales. “Swords and Shields. Faith and Magic. Soldiers—ordinary and otherwise–struggling against extraordinary odds to survive the day…epic landscapes and characters…but also epic battles.”
“Yael of the Strings” is my own contribution to the festivities. It represents a return to the World of Zang for me, a universe I haven’t visited in at least seven years. Most of the Zang Cycle stories were collected this year in THE REVELATIONS OF ZANG, but this is a brand-new excursion into that world. The protagonist isn’t a soldier at all, but a minstrel whose fencing skills become his only chance at survival when the red tide of battle overwhelms. This story revisits the nation of Ghoth (from “Oblivion Is the Sweetest Wine”), and introduces Sharoc, Land of the Griffon. There is music, and sorcery, and not a few monsters.
Art by Frank Frazetta—the cover of CONAN THE CONQUEROR (i.e. HOUR OF THE DRAGON)
It really is an impressive lineup of stories by some superb authors, and I am thrilled to be included. Fans of Epic Fantasy and Sword-and-Sorcery will come together like John, Paul, George, and Ringo for this one.
There’s no cover art yet, but here’s the Table of Contents:
- “Ashes and Starlight” (Runelords) by David Farland
- “The Fixed Stars” (October Daye) by Seanan McGuire
- “The Keeper of Names” by Larry Correia
- “The Smaller We Are” by John Helfers
- “Invictus” by Annie Bellett
- “Rising Above” by Sarah A. Hoyt
- “A Cup of Wisdom” by Joseph Zieja
- “Words of Power” by Wendy N. Wagner
- “Lightweaver in Shadow” by Gray Rinehart
- “Hoofsore and Weary” by Cat Rambo
- “Vengeance” (Frost) by Robin Wayne Bailey
- “Deadfall” by Nancy Fulda
- “Yael of the Strings” by John R. Fultz
- “The Gleaners” by Dave Gross
- “Bonded Men” by James L. Sutter
- “Bone Candy” (Black Company) by Glen Cook
- “First Blood” (Paksenarrion) by Elizabeth Moon
An alternate version of Frank Frazetta’s “Moon Maid” painting, inspired by the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
This Saturday (Jan 25) I’ll be signing and reading at BORDERLANDS BOOKS in San Francisco to celebrate the release of SEVEN SORCERERS.
This is a DOUBLE reading: My pal Blake Charlton will also be there reading from his terrific SPELLWRIGHT Trilogy!
Saturday @ 3pm — on the Borderlands.
BE THERE YOU!!!!!
The best fantasy show on television, GAME OF THRONES, returns with its much-anticipated 4th Season on April 6. This season will adapt the second half of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, the 3rd book of the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.
Here’s the first trailer for Season 4:
What illustrator Dresden Codak is doing with his Silmarillion Project is amazing. His goal is to “create a painted illustration to accompany every chapter in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, as well as provide supplementary illustrations to round out the characters and world in general.”
Another goal of the project is to “create a Middle-Earth visually unique from the style of the Peter Jackson films.” Codak is indeed a fan of Jackson’s films but says “I miss the days when there was more diversity and interpretation to Tolkien illustrations.” That is such a great point. Tolkien’s work has inspired so many people, and we’re all inspired in so many different ways.
As great as the LOTR and HOBBIT movies are (I personally love them), we cannot let them confine our imaginations. The whole point of reading a great fantasy novel is to spark your PERSONAL imagination. Your vision of the novel comes from deep inside you—your inherent creativity responding to the “message” that the text is sending you.
So there are potentially an infinite number of Frodos, Balrogs, Gandalfs, Saurons, and Middle-Earths. What I love about Codak’s project (besides his superb art skills) is that he brings that infinite creativity to bear. And no doubt his work will inspire others as Tolkien has inspired him.
Another reason I love it? Because The Silmarillion is my favorite Tolkien book.
Check out The Silmarillion Project right here: