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Baba Yaga's Daughter and Other Tales of the Old Races
C.E. Murphy
Subterranean Press, 257 pages

Baba Yaga's Daughter and Other Tales of the Old Races
C.E. Murphy
C.E. Murphy was born in 1973 in Alaska. C.E., who goes by Catie in real life, has written fantasy novels, short stories and comic books. She has also written a romance novel trilogy under the pseudonym Cate Dermody. She currently lives in Ireland.

C.E. Murphy Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Pretender's Crown
SF Site Review: The Queen's Bastard

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

In the original story, a stepmother sent her adopted daughter to her aunts to get a needle and thread for making a garment, and when the daughter got there she found out her aunt turned out to be a Baba Yaga. The tale reads like a European dungeons and dragons scenario for a character where other characters help her on her way. It is a cautionary tale for the Baba Yaga, as it shows what happens when the witch doesn't get what she wants. Everyone remembers the tale of the hag who had a hut that had chicken legs hiding it, and floated around in a giant mortar using a pestle to steer her, but this new book, is a series of tales in a new slant on the Russian story.

"From Russia With Love"

This has Baba Yaga's daughter met by dragon lord Janx and vampire Eliseo Daisani, and in all the stories these two are the main characters. The witch's daughter has to trap Janx for her mother, or face her wrath, yet when Daisani discovers his friend is her mother's prisoner, he objects strongly, and who can blame him when they have been friends for centuries.

"Five Card Draw"

A night of card playing is the scene of this story where several members of the old races are playing for winner takes all. Even Vanessa is playing with them, and that can't be a good idea as she isn't exactly a card shark. These players are a mixed bunch; a vampire, a dragon lord, djinn and gargoyle make up the team, so the added bonus of a witch makes for more fun. Vanessa remembers when she first met Eliseo and you find out she likes him very much, even if her mother still bears a grudge against him after some years.

"Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight"

Eliseo and Janx are in this tale where it flits around different times and shows their experiences with people like Vanessa and Suzannah. The two of them seem to have a serious relationship with Vanessa and some emotional bond with her, but you can't help feeling that they are also toying with her too. Each tale within this one goes between the eras and gives the reader a better idea of the feelings of the characters and how they came to be. As a story, it is easily the longest in the entire book, and more of a novella length piece that spans generations where love and wisdom have been stored as well as the issue of a certain object that the dragon lord wants to keep safe.

"When in Rome"

Eliseo is shocked that Vanessa is still alive, even after a vampire has drank her blood, but she tells him she is born of a witch, and as a result cannot die from a vampire's bite. Eliseo in turn is glad to see she is alright, but she sees he isn't exactly in good spirits as his best friend Janx isn't around. When she asks about him, she finds out he has done him a bad turn, and has lost something precious to him. This leads Eliseo and her trying something that will restore order from chaos. Even though Janx isn't in this story, his presence is felt through the other two characters.

"Baba Yaga's Daughter"

C.E. Murphy mixes in folklore with Russian history to create this tale where we hear of how Baba Yaga's Daughter came about, but first are her nightmares. She doesn't know who she is at the start, yet she discovers she has great power from being a witches offspring, and she can use this power of hers for her own ends if need be. The story goes through a sequence of events that soon comes to a strange conclusion, but one that is truly fascinating.

"Chicago Bang Bang"

When Eliseo takes several bullets in the chest one night in a packed saloon, everyone else thinks it's time to get out of town, but none of those present saw Vanessa at his side, offering her wrist to feed him her blood. Whether they saw or not, the fact they tried to kill him means there is someone out there who wants him dead and gone. This is a fast moving story that stands out like something from the American West, but ends in a very captivating way.

"The Age of Aquarius"

Vanessa through these stories meets either Eliseo or Janx in different eras, whether it is the roaring twenties or earlier in time. In this instance, she and Janx meet in the Sixties, the flower power era where he looks the part in John Lennon glasses and a goatee. It is a reunion where he wants to spend time with her and reminisce over the good and bad times. He knows he has always loved her, but Eliseo is one of those men who had stolen her heart too.

"The Knight's Tale"

As a story, it marks another episode in Vanessa's life where she has felt envy at Eliseo's attraction to other women while she has been dating him, even when it comes to business between them, and Rebecca's coming with them for a meal makes Vanessa seethe even more. It is only later when Eliseo realizes what sort of a woman and friend he has in Vanessa that he decides to do something he might not have done when he was much younger.

"Last Hand"

Margrit Knight doesn't have an appointment to see Eliseo but that doesn't stop her from making her presence known to him or Vanessa. She has an urgent need to see him, even if only for a few minutes, but Vanessa doesn't make it easy for her to see the man she loves, she makes her wait. Eliseo is missing his partner Janx more than he lets on though, as they are both parts of the same whole, or that is what it seems like. He realises life must go on, and Margrit is only one person among many he will deal with. A night of games sets the scene for an interesting story that tugs at the heart strings.


As Vanessa well knows, the future lies in those offspring who are different from others, and hers are a mix of races and magic too old for humans to understand. She believes these children will be enough to shape the world even though it changes constantly. Though others do not know, both them, Eliseo and Janx are part of that future, and of the rest of mankind. The story is atmospheric and leaves a question in the mind of the reader, and as it is the last one, it also gives the reader hope.

These stories could easily be classed as a novel as they contain the two main characters Janx and Daisani. Their origins are from C.E. Murphy's world of the Old Races and their urban fantasy trilogy, The Negotiator. There are other characters from her previous works in here too who make their appearance, enhancing the already well thought out cast of characters.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has been published in Love Romance Passion, Love Vampires and Vampire Romance as well as The Chronicles vampire magazine.

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