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Fantasy Masterworks is a series of classics that deserve to be in print and kept there rather than languishing as OP titles. They were published monthly by Millennium which is an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, a UK publisher, whose other imprints include Dolphin, Orion Media, Phoenix and Victor Gollancz. Below you'll find the reviews we've done to date (with cover/title links to them) along with synopses of those titles yet to be reviewed (the covers are linked to larger versions). They are in reverse order of release with the newest ones on the left. It is a companion series for their SF Masterworks line.

SF Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |            Fantasy Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 |

Orion Fantasy Masterworks
   No. 40
Three Hearts & Three Lions Three Hearts & Three Lions by Poul Anderson
"The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself are poised to overthrow the realms of light. Holger Carlsen, a bemused and puzzled twentieth-century man mysteriously snatched out of time, finds himself the key figure in the conflict. Arrayed against him are the dragons, giants and elven warriors of the armies of Chaos, and the beautiful sorceress Morgan le Fay. On his side is a vague prophecy, a quarrelsome dwarf and a beautiful woman who can turn herself into a swan - and a magnificent battle-horse and a full set of armour which had been waiting for him when he entered the magical realm. On the shield were three hearts and three lions - a clue to his true identity. Could Carlsen really be the legendary hero who could save the world? "

   No. 39
The Mabinogion The Mabinogion by Evangeline Walton
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
This tetraology retells the four branches of the Mabinogion, the oldest and most strictly Welsh texts of the Mabinogion: "Pwyll Prince of Dyfed," "Branwen Daughter of Llyr," "Manawyddan Son of Llyr," and "Math Son of Mathonwy." as Prince of Annwn, The Children of Llyr, The Song of Rhiannon, and The Island of the Mighty, respectively.

   No. 38
Darker Than You Think & Other Novels Darker Than You Think & Other Novels by Jack Williamson
"The unsettling dreams begin for small-town reporter Will Barbee not long after he first meets the mysterious and beautiful April Bell. They are vivid, powerful and deeply disturbing nightmares in which he commits atrocious acts. And, one by one, his friends are meeting violent deaths. It is clear to Barbee that he is embroiled in something far beyond human understanding, something unspeakably evil. And it intimately involves the seductive, dangerously intoxicating April, and the question, 'Who is the Child of the Night?' When he discovers the answer to that, his world will change utterly. "

   No. 37
A Voyage to Arcturus A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This seminal work of SF, originally published in 1920, begins with a séance which sets the story in motion. Following the strange séance, Maskull finds himself led by his friend Nightspore and the mysterious Krag to a deserted observatory in Scotland. Krag and Nightspore give Maskull a cock-and-bull story about the planet Tormance, which orbits the star Arcturus. By the time Maskull climbs the tower, he finds himself living on Tormance and beginning a pilgrimage to find the legendary Surtur.

   No. 36
The History of the Runestaff The History of the Runestaff by Michael Moorcock
"The earth has grown old, her landscapes mellow, her people lost in abrooding dream. It is an age of antique cities, scientific sorcery, crystal machines, great flying engines with mechanical wings. And the armies of the Dark Empire are relentlessly taking over the once-peaceful city states, ravaging and destroying as they advance, mile by brutal mile . . . The Dark Empire has humiliated and multilated Dorian Hawkmoon, but it cannot rob him of his two consuming passions: his love for Yisselda of Brass and his hatred of her ruthless suitor Meliadus. But before he can defy the Dark Empire and win the beauteous Yisselda, he must seek the Runestaff, a quest that will send him into barbaric wonder and perverse evil . . . and only if he succeeds will her avert the doom of all the world..."

   No. 35
Lyonesse II: The Green Pearl and Madouc Lyonesse II: The Green Pearl and Madouc by Jack Vance
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
There is something otherworldly about the Lyonesse books. That may sound oddly redundant, given that we are talking about a book of fantasy -- surely it is a given that we would be transported into another world. All fantasy aims for that (and good fantasy succeeds). But the mere transportation is not the point. It's the sense that we aren't being told about an imaginary world. Instead, we somehow find ourselves in the real one, there between the covers of this book, while lurking in some other dimension which the inhabitants of the author's world would find passably peculiar.

   No. 34
The Drawing of the Dark The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Brian Duffy, an aging sword master wandering the streets of Venice, is more likely to be considering returning to his homeland of Ireland than going on another adventure, but when Aurelianus offers him a job as a bouncer at an infamous Vienna inn and brewery, Duffy finds more adventure than he bargained for. He's always had odd events happen to him. Recently he has seen odd things.

   No. 33
The House on the Borderland and Other Novels The House on the Borderland and Other Novels by William Hope Hodgson
"From the chilling adventure tale of the sea, The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig', and the power and horror of The Ghost Pirates, to the strange and haunting vision of the House on the Borderland and the bizarre and wonderfully imaginative The Night Land, the four great novels of William Hope Hodgson are universally recognized as one of the landmarks in the literature of the weird and fantastic. Strange and compelling, these are powerful works that exercise the same fascination today as they did on Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, and all four are collected here. "

   No. 32
The Broken Sword The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
reviewed by William Thompson
Taking place within a fictional England during the period of Viking incursions and the Danelaw, the realm of faerie still exists dimensionally side-by-side with mankind, at times heard or glimpsed in storm or twilight, but ever driven to the margins of human habitation by the encroachment of the White Christ and his proselyting priesthood. Orm the Strong has carved out a home for himself along the northern Saxon shores, killing its original residents and through coercion, taking an English wife. But his actions have led to a curse being placed upon him, which will have dire consequences for the future.

   No. 31
Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams by C.L. Moore
"Jirel of Joiry, the first of the great female warriors, the beautiful commander of the strongest fortress in the kingdom, would face any danger to defend her beloved country. She wielded her bright sword against mighty armies, the sinister magic of evil sorcerers and fearsome castles guarded by the dead, even daring to descend into Hell itself... Northwest Smith, the scarred and weathered outlaw, the legendary hero of the spaceways, forced to confront the terrible mysteries, the terrifying, mythic monsters of the universe..."

   No. 30
The Chronicles of Corum The Chronicles of Corum by Michael Moorcock
"Prince Corum is the last of the Vadhagh, his family and people brutally slain by the Mabden. Vowing to wreak vengeance on the killers, Corum sets out on his terrible quest only to fall in love with a beautiful Mabden woman, and to confront the fury of the Lords of Chaos. For they fear that he is the hero who could tip the balance in their cataclysmic war with the forces of Law and free his world from Chaos's vicious grip. His epic struggle against them and his ultimate victory is only bought at a considerable price. Moorcock's evocation of a rich, dark world, a time of magic, phantasms, cities in the sky, oceans of light and wild flying beasts of bronze is one of the pinnacles of modern imaginative literature."

   No. 29
The Dragon Waiting The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford
reviewed by William Thompson
Framed around the metrical history of Shakespeare's verse, this clever and complicated narrative relates an alternate depiction of the events surrounding the life and ascension of Richard III, at the same time retelling and inverting the history of Europe until at times it is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction unless steeped in a study of the period. Granted, many elements are obvious fantasy, but they are so threaded with accurate detail and re-imagined fact that it is easy to become seduced by the story's illusions.

   No. 28
Peace Peace by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
On the face of it, it is almost impossible to classify it as a book of fantasy. So much of it is rooted so squarely, and so beautifully, in small-town mid-America, that it could simply be a book of Literature with a capital L. It might well be the ultimate book to hand to someone who dismisses all speculative fiction as a child of a lesser literary god. It is possible to have a science fiction book be lyrical, philosophical, intricate, possessed of both enough depth to drown in and enough wit to do so while smiling. This is such a book.

   No. 27
Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden by Jack Vance
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
These books, now reissued, succeed by quite simply taking a land which never really existed and treating it in such a matter-of-fact way that the reader is practically tricked into accepting the most outlandish magicks (and there are plenty of outlandish magicks in these books) at face value, and without blinking an eyelid. It feels like you're reading actual historical fiction.

   No. 26
The Emperor of Dreams The Emperor of Dreams by Clark Ashton Smith
reviewed by William Thompson
Shifting sands and forgotten ruins. Oriental towers and odalisques. Medieval castles and haunted woods. These are but some of the fictional realms of Clark Ashton Smith, worlds of dark wonder and necromancy; familiar paths that imperceptibly veer into other realities where horror and often death await.

   No. 25
Voice of Our Shadow Voice of Our Shadow by Jonathan Carroll
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is the story of Joe Lennox. He is modestly happy, living in Vienna, fairly lonely but otherwise in fine shape. He meets Paul and India Tate, a slightly older couple who sweep him into their life. Joe is fascinated by the two of them: their conversation, their imagination, and, inevitably, India's sexiness. All is well for awhile, until Paul leaves on a trip, and India and Joe spend enough time together to realize their mutual attraction. Before long, events take the expected turn until Paul discovers the affair and he dies of a heart attack. But then Joe and India find themselves tormented by Paul's malicious ghost.

   No. 24
The First & Second Books of Lankhmar The Second Book of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber
reviewed by William Thompson
Pairing a northern barbarian with an urbane, hedge wizard's acolyte, one could think perhaps of a no more unlikely couple, except the marriage of Mutt and Jeff, Stan and Oliver, proving once again "Three of a Perfect Pair." A keen mind in a berserker's body, Fafhrd became the brawn and calm to balance the Grey Mouser's creative if at times impulsive fancy. Of a larcenous turn, the two confederates match their differing if mutual skills to thievery and mercenary employment, usually with serio-comedic results. Written with verve and wit, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser became one of the most original and enduring teams to grace fantasy fiction.

   No. 23
The Well of the Unicorn The Well of the Unicorn by Fletcher Pratt
"When young Alvar Alvarson is evicted from his farm, he sets out to make his own way in the world. Charged by the sinister old enchanter Doctor Meliboe with delivering a message to a secret band of conspirators, he finds himself in trouble."

   No. 22
Gloriana or the Unfulfilled Queen Gloriana or the Unfulfilled Queen by Michael Moorcock
reviewed by David Soyka
For what will prove to be the ominous term of 13 years, unprecedented peace and prosperity characterizes Queen Gloriana's rule over the Albion empire and its various protectorates and allies, in antithesis to the madness and bloodshed of her father, King Hern. The power behind the throne, the architect of the elaborate myth of Gloriana that promotes and maintains this Golden Age, is her trusted Chancellor, Lord Montfallcon, who endured great personal sacrifice to survive the intrigues and purges of, and finally triumph over, Hern's corrupted court.

   No. 21
Mistress of Mistresses Mistress of Mistresses by E.R. Eddison
reviewed by William Thompson
Originally published in 1935, more than 10 years after his more well-known and popular work, The Worm Ouroboros, this book is the first part of the larger Zimiamvia sequence, though, while published first, chronologically last in the events unfolding within the trilogy. However, it possesses a narrative unity that allows it to be read on its own, even though it is an extension of events established in the other two novels completing the cycle. This is accomplished in part because time, locale and characters within the author's novels blur in identity, separated yet coexisting, almost, though in a very different fashion, as a pre-echo to Moorcock's multiverse.

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Copyright © 2004 by Rodger Turner

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