Tag: Fantasy

How Bugsy Siegel Really Died


My horn itched. Definitely psychosomatic, since horns don’t itch. It happens when I get supremely nervous, and being ushered into Moe Sedway’s office by his mob buddies was wracking my nerves—supremely.

Moe hung up the phone after saying, “You got it, boss.” The boss was Meyer Lansky, the Mob’s Accountant. When I first arrived in Las Vegas, Moe told me that Lansky had once been bitten by a rattlesnake. It must’ve been terrible watching it curl up and die.

A Quest to Restore Magic


Jack Damian is the Outsider. He protects the world from supernatural evil. His job makes him a real outsider. He walks alone and unattached to anyone or any organization. Then he meets Amanda Fielding.

“For Love of Magic,” a fantasy novel by Simon R. Green, opens with Jack Damian called to London’s Tate Gallery by Britain’s secret Department of Uncanny Inquiries. His services are required.

Twenty-two people disappeared during the premier viewing of a new painting, “The Faerie War.” It is a newly discovered work by a brilliant, criminally insane artist of the previous century. Although it is a world of science, magic keeps leaking in around the edges and through the cracks. Jack seals those cracks.

Adventure and Magic in Renaissance Europe


Catarina Rinaldi was the wife of the ruler of San Florian, a city-state in 15th Century Italy. He was murdered by a rival faction in San Florian. She could become its new ruler – if she can put down the rebellion. Gian Bracciaforte leads a fifteen-man posta of mercenaries. A man with a past, he and his men are unemployed, and he is seeking employment.

In “Shadow of the Crescent,” a historical fantasy novel by Margaret Ball, their lives will become entangled.

As the novel opens, Caterina’s husband is slain by townsmen irate at new taxes raised by him. Taken captive, she and her son become pawns in the game of determining San Florian’s new ruler. That involves marrying Caterina and disposing of her son. Using audacity, fortune and her magical spells she triumphs over the Borghini family, which has led the rebellion, leaving her in uneasy control of the town.

Stories That Would Make Excellent Games


Have you ever read a book which made you think it’d make a better game? Every so often I come up with a book that fits this category. In a novel you follow one path, that of the hero. Events unfold once, and whatever the setting, whatever the wider world of the book, you only ever see how things play out once.

In a game, your options open up. You can run the experiment over and over again and see what other outcomes are possible. Tolkien says of The Lord of the Rings that, had he wanted to make it a retelling of World War II the Free Peoples would have allied with Saruman and used the One Ring as a weapon to ultimately defeat Sauron. Would that have worked? Could they have done it with the alliance but not with the Ring, or the other way around?

All Hail the King of Cats


At the end of the universe, there is a mountain. Every thousand years, a bird flies to strop its beak on that mountain. When the mountain is worn to nothing, the universe ends. The mountain is down to a few grains of sand.

“Cat’s Paw, A Novel of the King of Cats” a fantasy by Robert A. Hoyt, opens as a bird readies for its passage to the mountain at the end of the universe. Unless it is stopped, it will be the final passage. The universe will end.

Meanwhile, in Broxton, CO, Tom, an alcoholic alley cat, encounters a white Persian cat while scouting for pizza and beer in a pizzeria dumpster. She is female, which interests Tom, who . . . tomcats around. She also appears lost and pregnant, with a fancy collar that shows she is an indoor cat.

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As Sarah Hoyt will tell you, the commercial publishing industry is in a sorry state. Any author not already well established would be better off with independent or self-publishing, and the availability of e-books and online sales make this more possible than ever. As fond as I am of genre fiction, and fantasy in particular, […]

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Spellbinding Fairy Tales with a Modern Twist


Fairy tales served as medieval entertainment. They were cautionary tales, with advice about how to live your life as much as fables. They were not just for children.

“Odd Magics: Tales For The Lost,” by Sarah Hoyt, are a dozen updated fairy tales, snatched from traditional roots and garbed in modern clothing. Hoyt has taken stories you read as children, giving them her unique spin.

They are all there, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and seven more. No longer set in Never-Neverland, they take place in 21st-century America (mostly Colorado).

Valhalla Unmasked


Take a typical college-aged man from the Midwest in today’s America. Give him the ambition to slay dragons and become a knight errant. It is unrealistic, but it is his dream. Then let him discover magic really works. He slays a fire-breathing dragon (with his mom’s Volvo), and is invited to join Knight Watch, an organization dedicated to protecting ordinary Americans from intrusions by supernatural enemies

“Valhellions,” a fantasy novel by Tim Akers, uses this setting. It is the sequel to “Knight Watch,” which introduced John Rast and Knight Watch. John’s dream job is not turning out quite as he dreamed. He has to hide magic from the mundane world which dampens the fun. His parents think he is a highly-paid troubleshooter for a tech firm. (He is – sort of.) The girl he adores, Chesa Lozaro joined Knight Watch as an elven ranger princess (that was her dream). Despite working together, she still disdains him.

If anything can go wrong, it does, especially to John. His life has become a collision between Tolkien and the Marx Brothers, with him playing the straight man. Now the world is about to end. Some renegades at Valhalla are trying to trigger Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. It is up to John and his team to stop it.

A Dark Fantasy by Correia and Diamond


Illarion Glaskov is a miller’s son in a small farming village in the far north of Kolakolvia. It is so remote the Czar’s tax collectors have not visited it for years, and the Empire has forgotten to levy conscripts from it. That suits Glaskov. He would be the one drafted. He would as soon marry his fiancé Hana, raise a family and run the family mill.

“Servants of War,” a new fantasy novel by Larry Correia and Steve Diamond opens with Glaskov’s dreams being shattered. His village is attacked by demons that kill everyone in it except infants in their cradles and Glaskov. The infants are taken. They disappear. Glaskov escapes because he tricks the demon chasing him into getting its tail stuck in the mill’s turning grindstone. Glaskov then beats it to death before it frees itself.

Glaskov, badly wounded in the fight, survives only because he is rescued by the Witch of the North. One of two goddesses that rule this world, she is also known as Baba Yaga, the Sister of Nature. She is at war with her other surviving sister. She supports Kolalolvia, while her sister supports Almacia. The two nations have been at war for a century.

A Fresh Look at Tolkien


J.R.R. Tolkien may be the most beloved twentieth-century author with the most diverse reader base. He appealed to Christian and New Age audiences as well as readers across the political spectrum. Fame and fortune were the last things he really sought. An Oxford professor, he just wanted to tell some stories.

“The Real J.R.R. Tolkien: The Man Who Created Middle Earth,” by Jesse Xander, is a new biography of Tolkien, the first major biography in nearly twenty years.

It is an independent biography, offering a fresh look at Tolkien. Xander reveals Tolkien as simultaneously archetypically ordinary and extraordinarily remarkable, an obscure professor who wrote momentous fiction.

The Completion of an Epic Fantasy Trilogy


In 2011, “Toward the Gleam” appeared. A fantasy, the book’s premise was that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium were based on actual events. Author T. M. Doran bases a central character on Tolkien, John Hill, who find a prehistoric manuscript preserved over thousands of years. Set in the twentieth century, “Towards the Gleam” follows forces of good and evil contending for possession of the manuscript.

A sequel, “The Lucifer Ego” followed in 2018. The manuscript, safely hidden at a monastery gets stolen. Oxford University archaeologist Frodo Lyle Stuart gets recruited by his Uncle Henry to recover the document, the inspiration for “Lord of the Rings.” That book ends with the manuscript returned to safe storage, there to remain.

Or will it?

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Part Three Part Four I had never been on a honeymoon before. It started as a very wonderful experience. On Monday morning, we had Race and Spence get out the air coach, and we flew from estate to estate like wanderers. I had never visited any of my estates other than my palace in Constantinople, […]

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Part One Part Two I woke up the next morning with my arms around the elf girl. There was a strangeness that I could not identify, something missing, perhaps? I just didn’t know what seemed to be different. Having my arms around a woman was certainly different, but that was something added, not something missing. […]

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Part Six Part Seven The four of us sat there in our own little worlds. Spence and Race were on opposite ends of the couch, both messaging people elsewhere and going through files, either in private archives or on the Omniscience. Nicky was deep in thought on my reclining chair. I was at my desk […]

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Part Five Part Six We parked the coach in the coach house of Nicky’s building and walked the four blocks to the bar. It was nice to be able to do so with Percival and Walpole controlling the weather for the three of us, having a dry bubble to walk in and not being buffeted […]

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