Stephen Donaldson was born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. Between the ages of three and sixteen he lived in India, where his father, an orthopaedic surgeon, worked with lepers. It was after hearing one of his father's speeches on leprosy that he conceived the character of Thomas Covenant. 'Comparable to Tolkien at his best.' Washington Post
Collecting one SF and seven fantasy stories and novellas, this volume presents the short fiction Donaldson has written in the 14 years since the publication of Daughter of Regals and Other Tales. The best pieces are the novellas "The Woman Who Loved Pigs," which vividly depicts the cunning of dueling magicians who alter the lives of ordinary folk, and "Penance," which sets the redemption of a vampire in a well-drawn medieval setting. The SF story, "What Makes Us Human," a Berserker pastiche, demonstrates that Donaldson is stronger at fantasy than at SF. Some of the other entries, such as "By Any Other Name" and "The Djinn Who Watches Over the Accursed," use Mideastern culture, history and folklore to great effect. Though these tales do not reach the excellence of Donaldson's most famous works, such as The One Tree or The Mirror of Her Dreams, they are more succinct and their command of description is superior to that of his Gap Cycle. Donaldson's female characters will continue to irritate readers who expect more complex creations from one of the leading American fantasy writers, but, overall, the book does Donaldson proud. (Jan.)
'If there is any justice in the literary world, Donaldson will earn the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with Tolkien.' Time Out 'A writer of central significance as an author of demanding and exploratory fantasy.' JOHN CLUTE 'The most individual of the Tolkien successors.' Guardian
A tale of justice with a supernatural twist leads off this second collection of short fiction by the author of the popular "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" and the Gap Cycle. Donaldson's arch and ornate style lends a quiet formality to his stories, giving each tale a distinctive voice. Though previously published in slightly different form or in theme anthologies, this volume belongs in most fantasy collections.