Warriors 1 Audio CD
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Top customer reviews
One of the stories – Defenders of the Frontiers by Robert Silverberg – seemed to be loosely inspired by Dino Buzzati’s “Tartar steppe”, with the muck depleted garrison of a frontier outpost waiting for an enemy that never comes and wondering what to do.
Georges Martin’s story (“the Mystery Knight”) takes place in Westeros and is portrayed as a “Tale of the Seven Kingdoms”. IT is however well before Games of Thrones at a time where the Targaryens are still on the throne but there are no more dragons alive, only a few eggs. Interestingly, the hero and his servant seem to be loosely modelled on Don Quichotte and Sancho Pansa.
Another tells the story of an assassin that is trained and mentally conditioned by a theocracy before being sent on what turns out to be a suicide mission to kill the leader of their enemies. Except that things turn out to be much more complicated than that… (Tad Williams);
The Eagle and the Rabbit is a rather awful story and contest of wills between a Carthaginian prisoner and slave and a very sadistic Roman. It takes place after the final destruction of Carthage
King of Norway is a Viking story with lots of “blood and thunder” and a superb battle at sea, or rather in a fjord, based on a historical one, even if the heroes are fictitious (by Cecilia Holland).
“Forever Bound” (Joe Halderman) is the story of a rather gruelling experience where the hero is mentally bound as part of a “hunter-killer” platoon with his mates, and with one of them in particular, in some sort of cyborg warfare. Loosely inspired by Vietnam, this piece of science-fiction insists on the lasting trauma brought by the experience of mental bonding.
This is a very strong collection of short stories. While readers will clearly prefer some of them to others, there are no real weak ones. All of them are rather good, even if not fantastic. Also, the format, with all stories being about fifty pages long except for the last one from Martin (over 140 pages), is rather well suited for holiday reading or reading when travelling. Four stars.
First of all, this is not a fantasy anthology, despite GRRM being associated with it. If you want one of those, go try Swords and Dark Magic. This is multi-genre - sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction, with the common theme of being a "warrior" of some sort or other. This is pretty broadly defined, with everything from regular soldiers to vikings to the more exotic stuff. The setting vary as greatly, from past, present and future, here and there, and our protagonists are all sorts of people. It is "Warriors" too and not "War Stories": there is often more talking than action here.
These stories are some of the better ones I think: Silverberg has written a good tale of what happens when a war ends, Williams' story is readable and fun, if the ending is a little weak, and GRRM's Dunk and Egg novella seemed to contain a lot of little nods to the main Ice and Fire series at the expense of developing the actual story being written, which kind of staggered along for a while and then fell in a heap, with a few bright moments along the way.
Maybe that's the way with short stories, as almost all of these promise much and don't quite deliver. For these stories I'd probably give three and half stars if I could rather than three, but I can't. If you are only buying this to get the GRRM story, its probably cheaper than buying the hardback, but the GRRM story is not his best work, and that probably isn't the draw now it was back in 2010 when there was no release date for Dance.
George RR Martin explains in his introduction the joy of the 'spinning rack' at his corner store where genres were mixed and he discovered many great authors. This anthology is like the spinning rack, the common theme is that of a warrior of somekind, but after that premise, all bets are off..
The six stories here are by Joe Haldeman (with a SF tale from the world of Forever War), Steven Saylor (with a Roman tale set at the time of the sack of Carthage), Tad Williams (a story of an interplanetary assassin), Robert Silverberg (a fantasy story of the few remaining soldiers guarding a great barrier) and finally George RR Martin (a novella featuring Dunk and Egg from his Song of Ice and Fire series).
I enjoyed them all, the writing was superb and the stories did vary, perhaps if you don't like Sci-fi or fantasy then these may not be for you, but I enjoyed the mix and it was hard to pick a favourite, which is always a good sign. Great authors, strong writing and a fun mix of tales - what's not to like?
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