A VISITOR TO SANDAHL was released on December 13, 2010. It is a work
containing thirteen short stories from eleven members on the Next Big Writer.
What began as fantasy novelist C. Lee Brown’s globetrotting challenge to other fantasy writers is a charming anthology of mystic wonderment and paranormal angst. Hilarious, irreverent, thoughtful, and sublime, A Visitor to Sandahl blends irony with oddity on the limitless, rough-hewn paths of the imagination. Thirteen unforgettable tales like “Lily White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and “Brawl” are retold by the myth-making pub bard Cable Hornman. While each of the ten storytellers tackle different themes, one thing is certain: there’s a lot that goes on in Sandahl, and if a few of the world’s finest fantasy writers weren’t watching, we might have missed something.
In this sword and stone anthology, each plot is unique, but the stage is always the same. Set in Sandahl, a mountain town on the continent of Methanasia, dragon-men, innkeepers (that’s my story!), bards, and she-lions have fascinating, often ethereal, even mystical adventures. They learn big lessons on life as they wander the three nearby ranges; they save one another, forgive one another, and work very hard to understand one another.
Often written as modern fables, there is no shortage of handsome strangers, high priestesses worth dying for, gargoyles, kings, and urchins. In “Thom’s Journey,” Jeanne Bannon describes a dwarf family whose patriarch, Pulou, is concerned about the size of their adopted son who seems to be growing too large for pint-sized living. Another story—this one frightening—is “Chirro’s Escape,” which follows a young lad as he finds an unexpected ally in trying to outwit a witch. There’s a case of mistaken identity and one of time travel, there’s murder, thievery, and an ode to a middle-aged female assassin with a big heart. There’s a talking fish, a man lost in time, and, if that hasn’t piqued your interest, there’s even more curious calamities in this unforgettable anthology where magic is just another word for surviving. When it comes to Sandahl, absolutely anything can happen—and does.
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In hardback: Assegai by Wilbur Smith