Valli had always lived for the Dance. She expressed her very soul through the sinuous, mystic movements that were as old as the East itself. Like all true artists she was a perfectionist. Her mind, as lithe as her body, was always searching for new material. At last she discovered a temple, old and deserted, hidden by Time and the mysterious, impenetrable jungle. In the temple she saw a series of carvings depicting an ancient sacred dance. It was a dance such as she had never imagined possible. Slowly at first and then with increasing speed she began to copy the movements recorded so faithfully by the timeless stone.
A strange feeling possessed her as the rhythm of the ancient dance obsessed her whole being. Dark beings of terrifying supernatural aspect glided from the crumbling walls an joined in the ancient rhythm.
Not until it was too late did Valli realise that the Forbidden Dance had resurrected forces of cosmic evil which had been sleeping in the lost temple.
Love, history or blood…which is the strongest?
In childhood something black settled on Mechail Korhlen and drank from his throat. And later somebody pitied him enough to kill his poor deformed body when he became an adult. But then Mechail chose to return from beyond the veil to enact revenge – and to follow Anjelen, ruler of the sinister monastery sited deep in the forest.
The fulfilment of his destiny had begun.
A whisperjewel from Gwen Delvano calls Dirk t’Larien across space and beyond the Tempter’s Veil to Worlorn, a dying Festival planet of rock and ice. Warlorn is slowly drifting through twilight to neverending night; as the planet sinks into darkness, so its inhabitants face annihilation.
Seven years ago, on Avalon, Gwen was Dirk’s lover, his Guenevere; now she wears the jade-and-silver bond of Jaantony Riv Wolf high-Ironjade Vikary, a barbarian visionary, an outcast from his own people for his acts of violence. And Garse Janacek, Jaan’s *teyn*, his shieldmate, is also bound to Gwen – in hatred. Dirk, a rogue and a wanderer, is called to be saviour of the three who are bonded together in love and hate.
But in breaking their triangle, he could lose all …
Garry Kilworth’s first collection shows him to be one of the most original and enjoyable writers in the field. The thirteen stories in The Songbirds of Pain mix science fiction and fantasy, with a dash of unclassifiable strangeness. Kilworth is particularly adept at evoking colourful and exotic locales in distant parts of the world, as in ‘The Dissemblers’, a story set in the Arabian deserts, about a man resorting to bizarre self-torture in his attempts to see beyond the veil of death. ‘Blind Windows’ is an adventure set in the Far East, reminiscent of an updated Rider Haggard: a group of Westerners searching for some fabled crystals find their way into a hidden underground world. ‘Scarlet Fever’ is about an artist in a sterile future society who gives himself the disease in an attempt to stimulate creativity. And the titled story tells of a woman who undergoes a strange and painful series of treatments in order to achieve perfect beauty.
Time after time, life after life, Cory Maddox was being incarnated into worlds he found both familiar and strangely different. And only in this latest incarnation did Cory bring along knowledge, skills, and memories of his previous existence – memories of cold betrayal that promised nothing he saw or felt could be trusted. Nor could he trust his companions who, like himself, kept moving from life to life trying to escape the endless cycle.
But it was only with the help of those companions that Cory could develop the technological means to peer beyond the veil of reality – to the shadowy figures whom he was sure were manipulating reality . . . if what he was experiencing actually was reality.
Time was running out. His memories gave him an advantage over the others, but he would have to act quickly and surely if he were to discover the truth – before truth itself could no longer be trusted . . .