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Sails & Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy

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Mermaids. Pirates. Flying ships. Creatures from the deep. Magic beyond your wildest dreams. The sea is a dangerous and wonderful realm. It calls to many, promising riches, adventure, or freedom. But just as there are beautiful and remarkable treasures to be found upon and below the waves, do not underestimate the dangers hidden within its depths. So polish your cutlass and Mermaids. Pirates. Flying ships. Creatures from the deep. Magic beyond your wildest dreams. The sea is a dangerous and wonderful realm. It calls to many, promising riches, adventure, or freedom. But just as there are beautiful and remarkable treasures to be found upon and below the waves, do not underestimate the dangers hidden within its depths. So polish your cutlass and prepare your spells for what awaits. Embark upon a journey across leagues of unimaginable adventure. Ride the waves to mystery and magic. Featuring 28 stories and 42 illustrations, including tales by New York Times best-seller Elaine Cunningham, Paul S. Kemp, Patrick Thomas, and James M. Ward with an all-new story featuring Halcyon Blithe.


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Mermaids. Pirates. Flying ships. Creatures from the deep. Magic beyond your wildest dreams. The sea is a dangerous and wonderful realm. It calls to many, promising riches, adventure, or freedom. But just as there are beautiful and remarkable treasures to be found upon and below the waves, do not underestimate the dangers hidden within its depths. So polish your cutlass and Mermaids. Pirates. Flying ships. Creatures from the deep. Magic beyond your wildest dreams. The sea is a dangerous and wonderful realm. It calls to many, promising riches, adventure, or freedom. But just as there are beautiful and remarkable treasures to be found upon and below the waves, do not underestimate the dangers hidden within its depths. So polish your cutlass and prepare your spells for what awaits. Embark upon a journey across leagues of unimaginable adventure. Ride the waves to mystery and magic. Featuring 28 stories and 42 illustrations, including tales by New York Times best-seller Elaine Cunningham, Paul S. Kemp, Patrick Thomas, and James M. Ward with an all-new story featuring Halcyon Blithe.

50 review for Sails & Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    This was a good collection of stories that smoothly combine the seafaring/pirate theme with fantasy. I only disliked a couple of stories, although as a whole, I found the tone a bit on the dark side. I think the only upbeat story was by Patrick Thomas, and I would expect no less of him, since he always gets me to laugh with his stories. The writing was high quality, even if I didn't necessarily care for all the stories, and none were predictable in the slightest. One hopes to find fantasy storie This was a good collection of stories that smoothly combine the seafaring/pirate theme with fantasy. I only disliked a couple of stories, although as a whole, I found the tone a bit on the dark side. I think the only upbeat story was by Patrick Thomas, and I would expect no less of him, since he always gets me to laugh with his stories. The writing was high quality, even if I didn't necessarily care for all the stories, and none were predictable in the slightest. One hopes to find fantasy stories ripe with imagination, and such was the case here. They also depict all the highs and lows of the human experience, even if the characters aren't necessarily human. I am feeling too lazy to give an individual account of each story in this collection. Instead, I will end this review with a wholesale recommendation of Sails and Sorcery. It took me a month to read (with other books on the agenda at the time), and that is the best way to read this. Savor each story, one or two a day, or more if you find that you don't want to put it down. Maybe the person who did this collection will put together an assassin-themed one. Hint, hint!

  2. 5 out of 5

    B. Barron

    An excellent collection! My biggest complaint is that in the story “The Bokor” (a very good story) in one paragraph the hero’s horse is described as both a sorrel mare and a white charger (and it can be both a charger and a mare, but not sorrel and white. It could be mottled, but that’s not what was written). Little details like this bother me. “The Drum of the Sea” was okay but kind of pointless. In general most stories would rate a solid 3 with several really good ones I would give a 4 – so I gi An excellent collection! My biggest complaint is that in the story “The Bokor” (a very good story) in one paragraph the hero’s horse is described as both a sorrel mare and a white charger (and it can be both a charger and a mare, but not sorrel and white. It could be mottled, but that’s not what was written). Little details like this bother me. “The Drum of the Sea” was okay but kind of pointless. In general most stories would rate a solid 3 with several really good ones I would give a 4 – so I give the collection an overall 4. I have to say there are several stories with worlds I would love to fall into for a novel or two (or maybe a setting for an RPG – hint hint!).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    This is an anthology of 28 all new original fantasy stories all set in an age of sail. About half of them are set in the world we know, that is, could be called historical fantasy (and I found I tended to prefer these stories) and the other half are high fantasy. One Amazon reviewer described some of those as "Middle-Earth-on-the-high-seas" and I'd agree those tend to have that flavor, although with a generous helping of Conan the Barbarian. And yes, a lot of horror, including one that came acro This is an anthology of 28 all new original fantasy stories all set in an age of sail. About half of them are set in the world we know, that is, could be called historical fantasy (and I found I tended to prefer these stories) and the other half are high fantasy. One Amazon reviewer described some of those as "Middle-Earth-on-the-high-seas" and I'd agree those tend to have that flavor, although with a generous helping of Conan the Barbarian. And yes, a lot of horror, including one that came across as a Lovecraft pastiche (John Sprunk's "Sea of Madness"), and few you could call upbeat. I should say upfront I'm not an objective reviewer, my good friend Gerri Leen is one of the contributors and I was one of the "first readers" (aka "beta") for her historical fantasy story about Francis Drake, "The Drum of the Sea." And yes, that is my favorite, need you ask? It was, with one other exception, the only story dealing with a historical figure, and unlike so much in this swashbuckling fantasy genre felt like it had a point--about the price paid for the dark side of a life of adventure. Gerri Leen's was the only name on the contents page I knew before reading this book. Most authors' background entailed only short fiction in small press, with a few exceptions. The back of the book highlights "New York Times best-seller Elaine Cunningham, Paul S. Kemp, Patrick Thomas, and James M. Ward with an all-new story featuring Halcyon Blithe." A lot of the stories had some really interesting concepts--such as a world that had stopped spinning (Chun Lee's "Stillworld: Sailing to the Moon") and the concept given a nod to in the title "Dryads in the Mast" by Leslie Brown. I'd say a few of the stories I found impressive, and I really liked about a third, more mildly liked about a third more, and the rest were "Okay" with only a few I found pulpy clunkers. Thus the three-star rating, although I'm tempted to bump it up a star for the illustrations (each story had at least one) which were lovely. (And I'd add a half star if Goodreads allowed). I thought I'd give a shout out to my five top favorites (besides Gerri's). It was hard actually to choose those top five--several others were top contenders. In the order they appeared: William Ledbetter, "Thief of Hearts" - What can I say? Captain Birch got to me. One of my favorite characters in the anthology. Patrick Thomas, "Beneath the Sea of Tears" - a high fantasy story featuring Terrabelle, a pixie/ogre hybrid, her partner Saraid, a selkie, and their adventures in an underwater city; this stood out as one of the very few light-hearted stories. I would be happy to read more adventures of Terrabelle and Saraid. T. Borregaard, "Cassia's Song" - I liked Cassia Aquila, the setting in Ancient Rome, and the slow build to the reveal. I cared enough about her by the end to find her fate poignant. And I thought the premise pretty original. Elaine Cunningham, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" - Easily my favorite among this five, the one I had no doubt deserved to be included among the best. This was a first person narrative and I was impressed by the voice. Pitch perfect. And this just built up masterfully to the chilling ending. Paul S. Kemp, "The Spinner" - Another stand-out both for style and story, and that last line is haunting. One of the strongest, most memorable endings, in the collection. So yes, by and large I'm happy to have this on my shelves, and would recommend it to fans of short stories for whom a mix of fantasy and nautical adventure appeals.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A nice collection of short stories; I'm taking my time with them. It's nice to have it on hand, for when I feel like reading something new but don't want to get involved in a novel or a whole series. A nice collection of short stories; I'm taking my time with them. It's nice to have it on hand, for when I feel like reading something new but don't want to get involved in a novel or a whole series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shelle

    What I learned from this book ... well, I already knew that my boyfriend was a very good writer. With this book, I learned that the publisher thought so too.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Richard Rogers

    This is exactly the kind of book you can judge by its cover, and I think that's a good thing. If you like the idea of fantasy stories on the sea, with pirates and magic and such, and enjoy short stories as a format, you're gonna find a lot to like in this book. Sails and Sorcery is about as on-the-nose as any title you'll ever find. And the subtitle, "Tales of Nautical Fantasy," spells it out more if you somehow missed the point. With a cover image of a castle guarding a port, an airborne sailing This is exactly the kind of book you can judge by its cover, and I think that's a good thing. If you like the idea of fantasy stories on the sea, with pirates and magic and such, and enjoy short stories as a format, you're gonna find a lot to like in this book. Sails and Sorcery is about as on-the-nose as any title you'll ever find. And the subtitle, "Tales of Nautical Fantasy," spells it out more if you somehow missed the point. With a cover image of a castle guarding a port, an airborne sailing ship, and mermaids in the foreground, you can be pretty sure of what you're going to get in this book. It tells you what to expect, and, thankfully, it delivers. It's a fun collection. Really, I thought the stories were very even in quality and entertainment value, which is surprising, as there are 28 in the book. I didn't dislike any, and several I liked quite a bit. All of the stories--truly, all, in my opinion, without exaggeration--have good action and varied characters and interesting settings and exciting plots and satisfying conclusions. At 15-20 pages a story, they can each be read in a single sitting, short enough not to grow tiresome but long enough to entertain. Pretty much what you look for in a short story collection, right? Often, short stories are aimed at a literary audience, even in science fiction and fantasy, but that is not the case here. I'm glad--those stories leave me cold. These are closer to the pulp end of the literary spectrum, which is to say that they're primarily about action and plot, with a focus on entertainment, though many have a lot of emotion and offer food for thought. Some stories develop the characters more than others, and some spend more time on world-building, creating some amazing settings, but all are peopled by interesting characters and are set in exotic and exciting worlds (though a few are recognizably our own world). Several could lead to good novels, in my opinion. I liked it, and I recommend it, and so that I don't appear to be overselling it, I gave it four stars. Solid collection, plenty of good stories. And if I'm wrong anywhere, it may be that you'll think I should have gone to five. And that's cool.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    1 1/2 stars. It's a good thing I borrowed this book for the sake of one story (Halcyon Blithe, which was 3 star), because most of the stories were awful. I was originally anticipating it's genre to be "fantasy," but it has been down-graded in my opinion to quite a bit of "horror." 1 1/2 stars. It's a good thing I borrowed this book for the sake of one story (Halcyon Blithe, which was 3 star), because most of the stories were awful. I was originally anticipating it's genre to be "fantasy," but it has been down-graded in my opinion to quite a bit of "horror."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Thomas Schmidt

    Solid and entertaining although some of the stories run together due to theme and other commonalities after a while. Part of the reason is this collection is quite long. But the writing is very strong, stories and characters interesting for the most part, and the authors' takes on the themes are unique enough that this stands out as one of the more unique fantasy anthos I've read in a while. Recommended. Solid and entertaining although some of the stories run together due to theme and other commonalities after a while. Part of the reason is this collection is quite long. But the writing is very strong, stories and characters interesting for the most part, and the authors' takes on the themes are unique enough that this stands out as one of the more unique fantasy anthos I've read in a while. Recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.M.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kieran

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  12. 5 out of 5

    De'Marquis Houston

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gail Carriger

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  16. 5 out of 5

    Grimgrin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mehalek

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jashawna Mayes

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kameron

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Whittacker

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack Houser

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Thomas

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Young

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marco Sampaio

  30. 5 out of 5

    Henry

  31. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  32. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  33. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  35. 4 out of 5

    Conestoga

  36. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

  37. 5 out of 5

    D.w.

  38. 4 out of 5

    Cyn Armistead

  39. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mellington-Smith

  41. 5 out of 5

    Ddgarcia1861

  42. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Millard

  43. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

  44. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Duncan

  45. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  46. 4 out of 5

    Mir

  47. 4 out of 5

    Jean

  48. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gottler

  49. 4 out of 5

    June

  50. 5 out of 5

    Christy

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