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Sword and Sorceress XVII by Marion Zimmer Bradley (ed).
Published by Daw Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Sword and Sorceress XVII is the latest in this long-running series of anthologies edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. When she created the first, there was a notable dearth of stories dealing with strong female protagonists in sword-and-sorcery settings. In fact, it took months for her to get enough stories to complete the volume. But it succeeded so wildly that she had no trouble filling future volumes. In fact, it got to the point where she was having to turn away stories that she would have gladly accepted a few years earlier.
As always, the stories in this volume are a delight to read. There is "My Sister's Song" by T. Borregaard, loosely based upon a historical incident in which a Roman army was routed by the peril of rhododendron honey. "An Exchange of Favors" by Dorothy Heydt, also set in the Classical period but some centuries earlier, brings back the long-running character of the witch Cynthia, who must unravel a puzzle to complete a bargain with Mercury, god of merchants and thieves.
Vera Nazarian returns to her Compass Rose world yet again with "Caelqua's Spring," a story of a desert woman who longs to escape an unhappy marriage. "The Haunting of Princess Elizabeth" by Carrie Vaughn is another historical, only this time set in Tudor England (yes, Princess Elizabeth is the one who will ultimately become Good Queen Bess). There are many more fascinating and delightful stories in this volume.
Unfortunately, this is the last volume of Sword and Sorceress in which MZB had an open reading period. Afterward she decided to switch to making it invitation-only, but did only one more reading period under those terms before she died. A selection of the stories she had tentatively chosen at the time of her death will be published as volumes 18-20 of the series, after which it will end.
Table of Contents
Click to buy Sword and Sorceress 17 in paperback.
This review posted December 28, 2000
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