A fantasist without equal, Patricia A. McKillip has created worlds of intricate beauty and unforgettably nuanced characters. For 25 years, she's drawn readers into her spell, spinning modern-day fables with a grace rarely seen.
Now she presents a book of previously uncollected short stories, full of beautiful dragons, rueful princesses, and handsome bards, and written in the gorgeous - and often surprisingly funny - prose she's known for. This is her world, wrapped up in the finery of fairy tales.
As shown in this excellent story collection, World Fantasy Award winner McKillip (Od Magic) can take the most common fantasy elements dragons and bards, sorcerers and shape-shifters and reshape them in surprising and resonant ways. In "The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath," a man determined to drive off a fearsome dragon learns that pride can be as cold and monstrous as any beast. "The Snow Queen" and "The Lion and the Lark" (based on Beauty and the Beast) clothe old classics in new magic to examine the price of identity and the value of freedom. The bleak "Star-Crossed" details the official investigation into the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, while "Voyage into the Heart" tells of the heartless hunt to capture a unicorn's horn. "Baba Yaga and the Sorcerer's Son" is full of charm and humor, while the sly "Toad" reveals a frog prince who is far from innocent. Each of these tales is a gem of storytelling, a rich treasure for both fans and those yet to discover McKillip's deceptively simple magic.