Sunday, February 22, 2009

Return Of the Sword - Jason M. Waltz

For a micropress book like this, I don't really expect a lot. However, the theme is certainly one I like, and would like to see more stories in that vein, so figured it was worth a go. Basically I figured this would average around the 3 mark, looking at the list of people in there - as in, no idea who most of them are apart from the odd Flashing Swords or Black Gate writer.

One professional level writer-E. E. Knight's contribution is an essay about writing stories, which is of not much interest to me.

Nathan Meyer is apparently one of the stable of writers turning out Mack Bolan adventures, etc., so he's no stranger to competent bloody carnage, certainly, at least of the machine gun and grenade variety, anyway.

So, as it turns out, with Enge, Meyer, Rhodes, Bryce, Durham and a pleasant surprise inclusion of Harold Lamb, who is definitely a good writer, and included a classic example of the style, if not of the fantasy, it comes out at 3.13. A little better than I thought.

The Rhodes story a nice surprise, too, an amusing Russian flavored sword and sorcery story, so certainly something a bit different there. Draper's last stand tale is a bit like a micro-Spartan 300 story.

You expect some of these people to not be up to the task, whether in prose, or plot, and that is certainly the case, and no surprise. Although you can tell the writers are at least interested, unlike in the case of some by the numbers theme anthology where people get asked for a story and producing some bland they don't care about.

However, overall, the book comes out as better than a 2.5, rather than more like the 2 I was expecting, and the editor's introductions for story and author are well-drawn, too.

Return Of the Sword : Altar of the Moon - Stacey Berg
Return Of the Sword : The Wyrd of War - Bill Ward
Return Of the Sword : The Last Scream of Carnage - Phil Emery
Return Of the Sword : The Battle of Raven Kill - Jeff Draper
Return Of the Sword : What Heroes Leave Behind - Nicholas Ian Hawkins
Return Of the Sword : Fatefist at Torkas Nahl - David Pitchford
Return Of the Sword : Deep in the Land of the Ice and Snow - Ty Johnston
Return Of the Sword : Mountain Scarab - Jeff Stewart
Return Of the Sword : Lair of the Cherufe - Angeline Hawkes
Return Of the Sword : To Be A Man - Robert Rhodes
Return Of the Sword : The Red Worm's Way - James Enge
Return Of the Sword : To Destroy All Flesh - Michael Ehart
Return Of the Sword : Guardian of Rage - Thomas M. MacKay
Return Of the Sword : Claimed by Birthright - Christopher Heath
Return Of the Sword : The Hand that Holds the Crown - Nathan Meyer
Return Of the Sword : The Dawn Tree - S.C. Bryce
Return Of the Sword : An Uneasy Truce in Ulam-Bator - Allen B. Lloyd and William Clunie
Return Of the Sword : The Mask Oath - Steve Goble
Return Of the Sword : Valley of Bones - Bruce Durham
Return Of the Sword : Red Hands - Harold Lamb


A heroine's not so ordinary sword is finally sheathed in blood.

3.5 out of 5


Much weaponry and slaughter by geas.

2.5 out of 5


Go ahead and eat me if you dare, you bastards.

3 out of 5


One mace, one club, one shield, one bridge to hold. A whole bunch of enemies in a line.

3.5 out of 5


An elderly warrior makes a final foray.

3 out of 5


Another bad sword.

2.5 out of 5


Chieftain tradition (no zeppelins, either, Led or otherwise).

2.5 out of 5


Pay attention to the fighting, not the women.

3 out of 5


One manticore, one princess, one duel, one volcano.

3 out of 5


Titania's balls.

4 out of 5


Sneaky witch necronose biters.

4 out of 5


Freedom or eaten.

3 out of 5


One little girl, too many tentacles.

2.5 out of 5


Swordsman vs sorcerer, arena style.

3 out of 5


Jousting to the river, whore to queen.

3.5 out of 5


Elemental problems for Dermanassian.

3 out of 5


Given the boot by mum, which nothing but some thievings.

3 out of 5


Faceless Son demon smash bash.

3 out of 5


Muskteers and pikes, vs skeletons, archers and sorcerers.

3.5 out of 5


Piglicking pirates, dogbrother!

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

2 comments:

Jeff Draper said...

Glad to see RotS reviewed, thanks!

Bruce Durham said...

Thanks for the review!