Once there was only the land of Phesaotois, with a cold and baleful Stone at its magical heart. Much later came the land of Pheyarcet, younger and hotter, with its Well of Fire inextricably bound up with its ruler, the great Panurgus.
Then Panurgus died, touching off a bitter struggle between his sons that ended with Avril on the throne and Prospero, mightiest of the sorcerers, in permanent exile.
All that was an age ago. Now Prospero, grown ancient and subtle, has found a new, third land: bright Argylle, with its primal Spring of clear water. Argylle is a fair realm in its own right; but the children of Panurgus never forgive and never forget.
And so Prospero decides it is an auspicious time to seize the throne of Phesaotois from Avril – thereby setting in motion a vast tale of romance and espionage, of talking animals and mythic beasts, of metaphysics and primal creation, of mannerly drama and gritty military detail: an epic that can only end in a conflagration of blood and honor.
The first coming was the Man:
The second was Fire to burn Him;
The third was water to drown the Fire;
The fourth is the Bird of Dawning.
Twenty years have passed since the martyrdom of the Boy-piper at York, twenty years in which his legacy, the movement of Kinship, has challenged the tyranny of the Church Militant in Britain’s seven island kingdoms.
Now his namesake, Tom, bearing the Boy’s own pipes and perhaps himself imbued with the spirit of the White Bird, is wandering Europe in company with the girl, Witchet. But disaster overtakes them and Tom, in a furry of vengeance, breaks his vow of Kinship.
A terrible path lies before him, one that transcends his own world. As he travels it, Tom must come to understand the true nature of the wild White Bird, of The Bride of Time and her Child, and of the Song the Star Born sang.
There is a citywide epidemic of arson in San Francisco, and Detective Dave Peters and his partner, Danny, are on the case.
But their routine investigation becomes more and more bizarre as the fires seem more and more spontaneous and impossible. An astonishing scenario emerges: the War in Heaven, which takes place outside of time, is still being fought. Sometimes a minor demon drops out of that war and into time, on Earth, to hide – masquerading as a human. Sometimes an angel is sent to Earth to destroy these evil beings. But an angel on such an errand may care nothing for human life.
Those who die go to heaven, or elsewhere – not the angel’s concern.
Such an angel now stalks its prey in San Francisco – but it is newly fallen because it has begun to enjoy destruction. Dave and Danny, the only ones who believe in the angel, must track it down and, with the help of the Church, exorcise it.
In 1997 an angel fell to Earth. Dave Peters, and his sidekick in the San Francisco police squad, Danny, were right there at the time. Caught up in a supernatural war between good and evil, they had eventually tracked down the rogue entity and brought an end to its reign of deadly fire. But now the stakes had risen. It’s 2002, and there’s a demon abroad in London, a soul so corrupt and foul that Satan himself has recruited him from the legions of the dead. Only one entity in Heaven can counter his power – an Archangel, an angel of the highest rank.
The body of a woman from respectable, conservative Glendale is found stashed under a ramshackle house in the middle of the inner city. Detective Luis Mendoza marks the rising heat by the crime and violence raging through the sun-baked streets of Los Angeles – and it’s going to be a hot one . . .
A thug is shot to death. A mysterious string of robberies continues unabated . . . all without a clue. But the family-man cop knows that where there’s heat there’s fire – and a cold trail to nowhere promises to turn into a red-hot path leading straight to the damned.
‘A Luis Mendoza mystery means superlative suspense’ Los Angeles Times
In 1987, the New York Times published their first front-page review of a science fiction anthology for a collection called In the Field of Fire, themed around the war in Vietnam. “Vietnam was science fiction,” the reviewer wrote, and writing about it through that lens found meaning in a war few understood.
This idea, that speculative fiction is a vital tool to understanding the inexplicable, is just as relevant nearly thirty years later. Deserts of Fire is a war-inspired anthology for the new millennium, because for many, the recent wars in the deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East are just as slippery to grasp and difficult to understand as Vietnam was two generations earlier.
Inside Deserts of Fire are stories from a variety of bestselling and award-winning authors that start with the simple and modest ambition of making the reader feel strange about the recent past. Because when there are too many explanations, the truth won’t be found by merely choosing one side or the other. But rather, the truth is in the existence of the confusion itself.
Johnny Mays has the moral conscience of a selfish child in the frame of a plain-clothes cop. The city is his playground, the rest of us his toys. He likes to find out where we work, and where we live, and what will scare us most. And Johnny never had a toy he didn’t break.
But Johnny starts a car chase, and he pushes it too far. Soon they’re fishing for his body at the foot of a dam, and his partner Nick Frazier has been left behind. They were friends, once, a long time ago. Nick had hoped that he might save Johnny.
Johnny’s last words still echo in Nick’s mind: “I’m going to remember this,” he said, a dark fire in his eyes. “I’m coming back for you.”
Then the killings start. Killings of people Johnny didn’t like. And Johnny’s car is dredged up, empty.
Contains the story ‘The Hedge Night’
Dreamsongs Book Two is the second part of a massive collection, featuring the very best of George R.R. Martin’s short fiction, a dazzling array of award-winning stories from the last thirtysome years. Included in this edition is ‘The Hedge Knight’, a tale of the Seven Kingdoms, an indispensable part of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire:
Telling the tale of a young squire as he strives to become a knight in the cruel and unforgiving lands of the Seven Kingdoms, ‘The Hedge Knight’ introduces readers to Dunk and Egg and their quest to prove victorious against the nobility at a local tournament.
George R.R. Martin is one of the most exciting storytellers of our time, a stylish, elegant writer who combines riveting plots with superb characterisation. He writes with equal verve and fervour about werewolves as he does spaceships, wizards and vampires, and he has won virtually every award in the fields of fantasy literature. His epic ongoing saga A Song of Ice and Fire has redefined fantasy for a whole new generation, and won him a vast, devoted audience.
Dreamsongs is an unmissable collection not just for all George R.R. Martin fans, but essential reading for any reader of fantastic literature.
‘Of those who work in the grand epic fantasy tradition, Martin is by far the best’ Time Magazine
‘I always expect the best from George R.R. Martin, and he always delivers’ Robert Jordan
‘Long live George Martin . . . A literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers’ New York Times
‘Martin’s style is so vivid that you will be hooked within a few pages’ The Times
A prolific author of hundreds of stories in the fields of SF, fantasy and westerns, E. C. Tubb, was best-known for his epic 33-volume Dumarest saga, a galaxy-spanning adventure series. Also active for many years in Fandom, he was both a founder member of the British Science Fiction Association and the first editor of its critical journal VECTOR. This omnibus collects two of his out of print classics, THE EXTRA MAN and THE SPACE-BORN, and posthumous novel, FIRES OF SATAN, completed before his death and published now for the first time.
These were the last weeks and days before the end of the world, before total destruction overwhelmed Earth and every living thing on the surface of the planet. No one knew exactly how long they had before the sun turned nova and destroyed not only Earth but all of the other planets in the Solar System. For mankind, the only excape lay in flight to the stars, to Alpha Centauri, more than four light years distant.
The hyperdrive, capable of carrying them there at close to the speed of light had been developed, but as yet had not been perfected. In a world without a future, the starships were the only salvation of mankind and they could save only a minute fraction of the population of Earth.
Panic is there, but temporarily forgotten by most, as the plans for a mass exodus are speeded up, as the long hours of mounting tension draw to a close and Judgement Day, when the world shall be destroyed by fire, is mo longer a hazy time in the far future, but something very close and very terrible. For those who remained behind, there could be no escape; death would come suddenly, eight minutes after the nova explosion. For those who fled the Solar System in the starships, untried and working on principles only partially understood, there was only the long, terrible journey through the endless night, not knowing what lay at the end of it.
Anu, red giant companion-star to Bel and Ea, was relentlessly approaching Ishtar – scorching the land, forcing the barbarians of the North ever southward away from the Inferno. Fire Time was fast confronting the planet; civil war broke out as the Tassui led their forces against the army of the Gathering in a desperate struggle for survival.
The Gathering anxiously awaited help from the human colony in Primavera. Jill Conway and other colonists like her hoped to save the civilisation of Ishtar and they relied on the Navy of the Federation of Earth to do so. But now the Federation was engaged in its own was, an interstellar war that seemingly had no end. And no end meant no help of Ishtar…
Winner of seven Nebula and eleven Hugo awards, Connie Willis is one of the most acclaimed and imaginative authors of our time. Her startling and powerful works have redefined the boundaries of contemporary science fiction.
Here in one volume are twelve of her greatest stories, including double award-winner “Fire Watch”, set in the universe of Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, in which a time-travelling student learns one of history’s hardest lessons. In “A Letter from the Clearys”, a routine message from distant friends shatters the fragile world of a beleaguered family. In “The Sidon in the Mirror”, a mutant with the unconscious urge to become other people finds himself becoming both killer and victim.
Disturbing, revealing and provocative, this remarkable collection of short fiction brings together some of the best work of an incomparable writer whose ability to amaze, confound and enlighten never fails.
One October night in the middle of the twentieth century Detective Inspector John Cheviot got into a taxi, bound for New Scotland Yard. When he stepped out it was from a horse-drawn cab, the year was 1829, and a beautiful woman was beckoning him in front of Old Scotland Yard.
There were things Cheviot remembered but couldn’t use – like how to analyse fingerprints; and things he didn’t know that he could have used – like how advanced his romance with Lady Flora really was. And there wasn’t even time to learn, because in the midst of helping Robert Peel establish the respectability and competence of his new police force, Cheviot suddenly finds himself and his lady accused of cruel murder.
Imagine a day, not too far from today, when you pick up the newspapers to find them free of the usual accounts of crime, corruption, violence and war. There’s no politics or politicians, no sporting results, speculation or scandal. There is only the asteroid: newly-discovered, enormous and on a collision course with Earth.
Imagine a time, not too far from today, when the world itself stands helpless before the Fires of Satan…
They dragged the screaming stranger into the asylum. His talk of Fire Gods and universal conquest seemed the ultimate in illusions. Next morning, the padded cell was burnt out…and there was no trace of the prisoner. The door was still locked, still barred.
Perhaps the arson that followed was just a coincidence?
The Brigade Chiefs called in a special investigator. No result. Finally the IPF took a hand and subsequently the investigations pointed to extra galactic interference.
When the psychiatrist, who had originally examined the mysterious ‘fire god’, was questioned the second time things began to add up. Those wild, strange words ha not been the ravings of a maniac but the diabolical threat of an alien entity. A thing with unbelievable power…that threatened the universe itself!