Wondrous beings inhabit these woods – creatures born of mythic fable and the mortal subconscious: a snow woman beckons; a scientist succumbs to an age-old madness, tale-tellers weave extraordinary yarns of terrifying primal power. Explore a dark and secret place where daemons roam, where conjurers work their awesome pagan magic in eight stunning short stories of exhilarating imagination by the acclaimed author of Lavondyss and the World Fantasy Award-winning classic Mythago Wood.
Patricia A. McKillip is the author of a number of hugely acclaimed fantasies, including The Riddle-Master of Hed and its sequels, which have been compared to Gene Wolfe’s epic Book of the New Sun, and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and Ombria in Shadow, both of which won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. She has won the Mythopoeic Award three times and in 2008 was given the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. This omnibus collects three of her later works: In the Forests of Serre, Alphabet of Thorn and The Bell at Sealey Head.
IN THE FORESTS OF SERRE: In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart…where good and evil entwine and wear each others’ faces…and where a bird with feathers of fire can quench the fiercest longing…
ALPHABET OF THORN: One of the most spectacular fantasists of our time, Patricia A. McKillip creates fairy tale worlds of wonder and magic. Now, she opens the page on a time and place where an orphan girl is haunted by thorns…a reluctant queen rules between sea and sky… and epics never end…
THE BELL AT SEALEY HEAD: Sealey Head is a small town on the edge of the ocean, a sleepy place where everyone hears the ringing of a bell no one can see. On the outskirts of town is an impressive estate, Aislinn House, where the aged Lady Eglantyne lies dying, and where the doors sometimes open not to its own dusty rooms, but to the wild majesty of a castle full of knights and princesses.
“I’ll need your help. Come night and the Oracle again, I’m going to try the final couplet.”
“Jinian,” Murzy breathed while Dodie looked white-eyed at me. “Dangerous.”
“And fatal not to,” I said, still smiling at them all…
I wove by forest and meadow, branch and leaf. I wove by stream and pool, by river and fall. I wove by cloud and air, by thunder and sunset glow. I wove by depths of the earth, rock and gem, glittering ores and crystals blooming in the dark, old bone and new. Beside me the others wove as well…
“And all within sound of my voice or reach of the wind,” I cried, thrusting my voice like a Sending, like a magic spear, driving it upward. “And all within sound of my voice or lick of the wave, or all within sound of my voice or stretch of the soil, or all within sound of my voice where green grows and leaf springs up. Named or unnamed, silent or speaking. Let this message be brought,
By the Eye of the Star,
Where Old Gods Are!”