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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The jewel in the crown, 8 Dec 2010
John Middleton (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
The Last Hieroglyph has been a long time coming, but at last there is a complete hardbound collection of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) weird tales. Generally, I have rated these books as 4-star rather than 5, as they are expensive hardcovers, and may not be for a casual reader. But with the collection complete, 5 stars should go to this final volume. All the Night Shade collection have beautiful, atmospheric cover art, and are sturdy, quality tomes. The table of contents is up on the "look inside" section over at - have a look, and taste CAS's writing style.

This volume 5 contains the last weird tales Smith wrote, from the mid 1930's to a few stories written in the early 40's - such as the charming "Theft of the thirty-nine girdles" and his disappointing final weird tale , "The Dart of Rasasfa" in the early 60's, just before his death.

Most of these stories are just a few pages long - 8-12 is about average, but some are longer and some are shorter. All of the stories have CAS's distinct voice - splendidly convoluted and superbly conveying a sense of impending doom. Each story has a few notes on its composition, and in some cases alternate versions to those published. They are largely horror stories, although the satirical "The Great God Awto" should be required reading for every young archeologist.

Apparently Night Shade plan to release an additional volume of CAS's exotic non-fantastic short stories "Tales of India and Ivory". That may well also be worth a look upon release.
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