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Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology

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With an introduction by Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister. Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Fifteen fantasy writers gather to bring fifteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world. On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight--and kil With an introduction by Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister. Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Fifteen fantasy writers gather to bring fifteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world. On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight--and kill--both friends and enemies to become the next wielder of the fabled Emerald Blade. In Midgard, a priestess of humble birth forges a strange bond with an ancient being as she searches for justice in a land that often rewards cruelty, betrayal, and bloodshed. And in the Yarnsworld, the Magpie King teaches two brothers a dangerous lesson about the power of stories. Sticks and stones may indeed break bones...but they cannot hurt the Bramble Man. In worlds ravaged by flood, fire, and frost, mere mortals strive to make their own legends amidst demons and deities a like. And in lands racked with human strife--where evil endures and no one is ever safe--scarred heroes fight forces even darker than their own personal demons. Why do they fight? Some seek to better the world, or themselves. Others are out to right old wrongs. But whatever their goal--reward, redemption, or just respite--the truth will out eventually. For no story is ever truly lost so long as there exists one to tell it.


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With an introduction by Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister. Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Fifteen fantasy writers gather to bring fifteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world. On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight--and kil With an introduction by Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister. Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Fifteen fantasy writers gather to bring fifteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world. On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight--and kill--both friends and enemies to become the next wielder of the fabled Emerald Blade. In Midgard, a priestess of humble birth forges a strange bond with an ancient being as she searches for justice in a land that often rewards cruelty, betrayal, and bloodshed. And in the Yarnsworld, the Magpie King teaches two brothers a dangerous lesson about the power of stories. Sticks and stones may indeed break bones...but they cannot hurt the Bramble Man. In worlds ravaged by flood, fire, and frost, mere mortals strive to make their own legends amidst demons and deities a like. And in lands racked with human strife--where evil endures and no one is ever safe--scarred heroes fight forces even darker than their own personal demons. Why do they fight? Some seek to better the world, or themselves. Others are out to right old wrongs. But whatever their goal--reward, redemption, or just respite--the truth will out eventually. For no story is ever truly lost so long as there exists one to tell it.

30 review for Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the editor in exchange for an honest review A good anthology comprised of 16 short stories written by some of the most well-known indie fantasy authors. Plus, it’s FREE! Let me first say that you can get this book for FREE on Amazon. Okay, one more time, for FREE!! Until when? Forever! Regardless of my rating, you should download it to your Kindle immediately, because there’s absolutely no harm in doing so. Unless.. you don’t like free stuff… Anyway, on to the review. Lost Lore: A F ARC provided by the editor in exchange for an honest review A good anthology comprised of 16 short stories written by some of the most well-known indie fantasy authors. Plus, it’s FREE! Let me first say that you can get this book for FREE on Amazon. Okay, one more time, for FREE!! Until when? Forever! Regardless of my rating, you should download it to your Kindle immediately, because there’s absolutely no harm in doing so. Unless.. you don’t like free stuff… Anyway, on to the review. Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology is an anthology made up of 16 short stories all written by fantasy indie authors who were also the participants of SPFBO (Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off) of 2016. Although I gave this book a 3-star rating, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book at all. People need to stop treating 3 out of 5 stars as a negative rating; any rating below that, yes, but in my honest opinion anything 3 stars and above is a positive rating. This is a good anthology and as I've always said, I never give any anthology a full 5 stars rating. Even my favorite anthology of all time, Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection, didn’t receive it. Like all my anthology reviews, I will do a short review on some of my favorite/most memorable stories. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton This story takes place in the same world as Ashton’s Paternus series, and once again I just have to applaud the amount of research that was put into this short story, or any story within this author’s series really. By combining Irish, Welsh, and many more mythologies into one, Dyrk has created his own rendition of the Great Flood while at the same time sharing with the reader's knowledge about mythologies from around the world. Filled with iconic mythological names such as Fintan mac Bóchra, Cetus, Leviathan, Merlin the Wizard, and Noah, this story was truly a delight for mythologies fans such as i I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes For this one, honestly speaking it’s not one of my favorite stories from the anthology but it’s certainly one of the most memorable. Told through a unique second person perspective, Laura once again managed to make her work stand out from the rest of the collection. We the reader, take the role of a scribe who’s writing the tale told by Kane. It’s a witty, fast-paced, and unique experience. The problem I had with this one was simple: when it comes to 2nd POV, I need a long time to adjust. N.K Jemisin’ Broken Earth trilogy uses the same style and it took me almost 200 pages to get used to it; if this short story were longer, there’s a chance I would love it even more. Palesword by T. L. Greylock This was my first experience with Greylock’s writing and it was a fantastic experience. I’ve been eyeing this author’s main trilogy—a Norse inspired epic fantasy called The Song of the Ash Tree—for a while now but somehow haven’t got around to it yet. This short story just cemented the fact that I will definitely have to read her trilogy within this year; it’s a MUST. Great characterizations, wonderful prose, vivid actions scenes and also… Vikings and Norse mythologies! Out of all 16 stories, this was hands down my personal favorite. These three short stories were my favorites or the most memorable short stories out of this anthology. This doesn’t mean that I disliked everything else in this collection. Here, let me mention a few more authors in this anthology that I think did a great job with their short stories, and you really should watch out for them because in my opinion they were all great: Ben Galley, Benedict Patrick, Timandra Whitecastle, Phil Tucker, and J.P Ashman. Unfortunately, I have to say that half of the anthology in this collection didn’t really work out for me. They varied between being okay and completely not working out. It’s just how it is; I've never had an experience where I absolutely love every short story in one anthology and I doubt I ever will. To me, there were only two problems that prevented half of the collection from working out for me. Like my problems with most short stories, some were too short to fully impress me. The other reason was that, although each story serves as an introduction to their respective author’s prose and all of the stories here can be read as a standalone/prequel, I can’t shake the feeling that I would have enjoyed these stories so much more if I had already read the respective author’s main series. For example: Dyrk’s short story worked really well for me because I love mythologies, but I loved it even more because I was already familiar with Dyrk’s main series. Phil Tucker’s short story also worked for me only because I’ve read two books in his main series. I have a strong feeling that some of the stories here would benefit so much if the readers are already acquainted with each author’s main work. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should read their main books first just because of my opinions; there’s no doubt that this anthology serves as a great introduction to each author’s prose, and almost all of the stories were great. Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology is a good book. It’s imaginative and unique, and I’m pretty sure that after reading this, your TBR Mountain will grow rapidly, just like mine did. Release date: January 15th, 2018 You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest

  2. 4 out of 5

    J.P. Ashman

    Now FREE on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks etc. Don't miss out! http://mybook.to/LostLore Super proud to be a part of this. I cannot wait to read the other stories in this anthology. It's been incredibly hard to know it's coming and not be able to read it all. Counting down the days - not long now! Now FREE on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks etc. Don't miss out! http://mybook.to/LostLore Super proud to be a part of this. I cannot wait to read the other stories in this anthology. It's been incredibly hard to know it's coming and not be able to read it all. Counting down the days - not long now!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    "Some stories are short; anecdotes for the night-fires. Some are long, winding tales and glorious at their finish. Some are full of darkness. Others light. Others still are grey in their ambiguity." Most of our stories are indistinguishable from the next. Unremarkable, was the word. Not everybody can have their name roared at roof-beams over the clash of tankards and foreheads. Few ever can have that honour, my father told me. Fewer still keep hold of it. For stories change with the writi "Some stories are short; anecdotes for the night-fires. Some are long, winding tales and glorious at their finish. Some are full of darkness. Others light. Others still are grey in their ambiguity." Most of our stories are indistinguishable from the next. Unremarkable, was the word. Not everybody can have their name roared at roof-beams over the clash of tankards and foreheads. Few ever can have that honour, my father told me. Fewer still keep hold of it. For stories change with the writing and the telling." - No Fairytale by Ben Galley Lost Lore is my first anthology, and it is safe to say it will not be my last. Many of these authors are on my TBR list, and many of the other authors have been added since reading their short story in this fantastic collection. I have read many stand-a-lone novellas, but to read this many together is a completely different experience. Your thrust into a completely different world before you can even shrug off the thoughts of the one you just finished. For that reason alone, I decided to only read two stories a day, so I could let each story sink in and hopefully remember it easier for this review. Since this is my first anthology review I did make notes, and I wanted to give small details about my experience with each story. So, here we go! No Fairytale by Ben Galley: 4/5 stars Great story to open this anthology. It is easy to tell from this sneak peek that Ben is a talented story teller. There were bits of magic, sadness, and interesting characters. Felt like the first chapter of a coming of age story. Easily made me want more right away. And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick: 3/5 stars This was an eerie tale involving two brothers. It reminded me of a dark bed time story told to children to keep them out of trouble. It could possibly make a great Twilight Zone episode. A good example of how your bad decisions can easily hurt those you love. "A story is a dangerous thing, Felton Herder. We must value them, we must be careful with them. Set one loose on the world, and you lose all control over your own creation." A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher: 2/5 stars Out of all the stories I struggled with this one the most. The story itself was good, but I was lost on a lot of the terminology. Children search for a sword known as the Emerald Blade under the roots of a massive tree. It kind of gave me a Lord of The Flies vibe. Sounds great, but it just didn't connect with me for some reason. Barrowlands by Mike Shel: 4/5 stars Grave robbing isn't all it is cut out to be as we can see in this hair-raising tale. I had no sympathy for any of the characters in this one. They all got what they deserved, and it wasn't a big ruby to ride off into the sunset with if you know what I mean. Hehe! "Patience, caution, wisdom. Acquire those virtues or join the brave and reckless in the grave." Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle: 3/5 stars The story starts out like a familiar fairytale we all know, but quickly makes a 180 degree turn. A little weird, but definitely unique. I wonder at the symbolism here and what it could mean. I have ideas, but don't want to spoil anything with my rambling. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton: 4/5 stars A retelling of the great flood that is distinct from the original tale, but still holds some of the same elements. Dyrk does a great job of mixing the two. Now I am really anxious to read the main series, also titled Paternus. I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes: 4/5 stars A humorous and some what backwards interrogation of the Evil One himself. Revels a look at human morality form a not-so-typical point of view. Fresh and gripping. I will definitely be looking into more of Ms. Hughes work. "Any man with axe to grind may vomit words on paper and then bury them with gems and feathers, their fancy 'literary flair' a thin façade for what amounts to - mostly - bollocks. I am a firm believer that if there's something that you wish to say then you should bloody well just say it." The Huntress by Michael R. Miller: 4/5 stars As a fantasy fan I have ready many stories involving dragons. Well, this story involves dragons, but they are portrayed from a different angle than usual. The MC is a female human that has been tossed into playing a vital roll in this bitter war against the dragons. I hit it off with this story and having since finished it, added Mr. Miller's Dragon Blade Series to by TBR shelf. The Prisoner by Phil Tucker: 3.5/5 stars Very short story, but with a powerful message. A young lord facing his first battle and only wants to be accepted by his soldiers. What moral lines will a man cross in order to be accepted by his peers? "His sword was weightless in his hand, and he felt his soul swell within him, and incandescent ecstasy. This is what it means to be alive, he thought. A Simple Thing by Bryce O'Connor: 4/5 stars A tale of an assassin's first contract as he records it in his journal many years later. Detailed with calculation as these kind of stories must be. I tend to usually enjoy this form of storytelling, and this particular one was well executed. "Anyone can wield a sword, can hack at a shield until it splinters and breaks. It is only the assassin, however, who can slip a blade up the shield-bearer's ass and convince him he swallowed it." Palesword by TL Greylock: 4.5/5 stars This had me entranced from the first page. I loved the Norse mythology elements in this. I was rooting for Eyja to get justice from the beginning. How have I not heard of Ms. Greylock before? I need to make room on my upcoming books list to start her main series The Song of the Ash Tree. The Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall: 4/5 stars A group of friends travel to a deserted jungle city...what could go wrong? When adventure turns into a fight for survival you find out who can be trusted real quick. Mr. Hall managed to flesh out most of these characters really well in a short amount of page time. This was fun, with some good action and nasty beasties. Black Barge by J.P. Ashman: 4.5/5 stars Goblins, gnomes, and family secrets await you in this wild river chase. I thought the river barge setting was really cool. I must say to use gnomes instead of the usual dwarves or elves was a refresher as well. If this is any indication of J.P.'s main series, then I can't wait to get started. Making a Killing by David Benem: 3/5 stars A dark tale that involves dark deeds. The setting and characters were compelling, but I would have liked a little more resistance in some areas. It flowed a little too easy for me with no push back or consequences. Of course, it is called Making a Killing. "The dark work always bloodies more hands than those doing it. 'Dark work brings dark rewards,' as folk say." The First Thread by Alex Hutson: 3.75/5 stars This was a thrilling tale that had a slow burn to an eventual cliffhanger. I am like most readers that can get annoyed by these type of endings, but with only 30 to 40 minutes invested in this story I'm not upset. I have a good guess as to what happened, but I really want to be told. I hope to learn more about this ending from Alex Hutson's main series, The Crimson Queen. Come on Alec! Don't let me down. Well, there you have it! My small take on each story. As I said above, I will be reading more anthologies going forward. Probably sooner rather than later. This one is filled with great authors, and I was surprised by how many I didn't have on my TBR list already. I encourage all fantasy lovers to give this wonderful collection of stories a read. I'm sure glad I did. 4 stars ****

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anton

    A very-very delightful collection of short fiction from the new authors in the beloved fantasy/sword&sorcery genre. This book, effectively, is a 'tasting menu' of different worlds and writing styles. A great way to discover new authors to follow! Great kudos to the editors/organisers of this release. This is an excellent job! Other reviewers already noted the overall strength of this collection. It is unusually well rounded (for the anthology) and good quality throughout. Well worth your time and A very-very delightful collection of short fiction from the new authors in the beloved fantasy/sword&sorcery genre. This book, effectively, is a 'tasting menu' of different worlds and writing styles. A great way to discover new authors to follow! Great kudos to the editors/organisers of this release. This is an excellent job! Other reviewers already noted the overall strength of this collection. It is unusually well rounded (for the anthology) and good quality throughout. Well worth your time and attention. If you are short on either one of those, I would recommend (at least) reading my top-5: Ben Galley - ‘No Fairytale' Benedict Patrick - 'And They Were Never Heard From Again' Dyrk Ashton - 'Deluge' Laura M. Hughes - 'I, Kane' T.L. Greylock - ‘Palesword’ Here you encounter storytelling and worldbuilding at their best (in my opinion, obviously). Thanks again to all the authors for the fantastic experience!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samir

    This was my first anthology and the main reason I decided to give it try is because the majority of the authors were already on my radar and this was the perfect opportunity to get familiar with their writing. So, without further ado, here are my two cents. No Fairytale by Ben Galley – 3.5 stars An interesting story with intriguing characters. I enjoyed the setting and I really want learn more about this world and its magic. This story is basically a bridge between the Emanska series and the futu This was my first anthology and the main reason I decided to give it try is because the majority of the authors were already on my radar and this was the perfect opportunity to get familiar with their writing. So, without further ado, here are my two cents. No Fairytale by Ben Galley – 3.5 stars An interesting story with intriguing characters. I enjoyed the setting and I really want learn more about this world and its magic. This story is basically a bridge between the Emanska series and the future series starring Hereni, a new character and the focus of this short story. An enjoyable read with appealing writing style. I want to know what happens next, but before that, I am certainly going to read the Emaneska series first. And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick – 2 stars A mix of fantasy and folklore. A story with dark/horror elements. The prose is very good but these kind of stories are not really my thing. If you enjoy a dark fairy tale type of story, I'm sure you're gonna love this one. A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher – 2.5 stars Short but memorable. Really intriguing story that left me want to read more about the world and its characters. It conveys some powerful messages through the characters and when you combine that with action scenes and a well executed twist, you get a great introduction to Kelliher's writing. Why the low rating? Well, the world-building was confusing at the beginning and I think this would be much easier to get into if I have already read The Landkist Saga. And this story convinced me to do just that. Barrowlands by Mike Shel – 2 stars The author is an RPG adventure designer and this story feels like a dungeon crawler/treasure hunt quest. I love playing RPG-s and I've encountered similar quests numerous times. As an experienced gamer, this wasn't that thrilling to me (been there, done that). However, if grave robbing quests are your thing, I'm sure you'll enjoy it much more than I did. Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle - 2 stars This started like Red Riding Hood type of story but quickly turned into something totally different. I think this will resonate much better with the female readers because of themes explored. The author did a great job of creating a story about such an important moment in every woman's life. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton – 4 stars I've always been intrigued by mythology, especially Egyptian and Greek, but never did read a fantasy book with well known mythological figures as the characters. This was my first try and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. You can notice right away that Ashton has done a lot of research of various cultures and managed to infuse that research into his storytelling, creating a unique and inviting world which I can't wait to explore more. I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes – 5 stars And for someting completely different. For those of you who aren't familiar with this line, it's an opening line of the Monthy Python movie of the same name. The reason I am rambling about it is because this story felt like a Monty Python skit. This is a story told through a first person voice of the Devil himself, also known as the bane of lizards, or is it wizards? Or both? Anyway, who would have know that Satan could be so funny. His monologue reminded me of Kruppe from the Malazan Book of the Fallen and his famous ramblings, so naturally, there was a picture in my mind of Kruppe with horns and a pointy tail. Even though this is a satirical take on the Devil, there are some very thought provoking themes explored, which gives a nice balance to the black humour. Fresh, funny and unusual. To quote the immortal Derek "Del Boy" Trotter: "Creme de la menthe!" The Huntress by Michael R. Miller – 4 stars This story is set 700 years before the events in The Dragon's Blade series which I haven't read but going to, because of this gem. I was immediately drawn into the story by virtue of Miller's prose which has a really nice flow. Grief, heroism, repentance, redemption, sacrifice; all were equally well depicted through the characters. This is a war story, a war between humans and dragons. I'm a sucker for dragons so, naturally, I was very intrigued by the dragon nation. Once dragons, now human alike, with powers. Yep, cool stuff! Miller did a great job with the main character, a young mother, affected by the life changing consequences of war, and made me really care for her. I'm looking forward to immerse myself into this series and to learn more about the origins of the dragons. The Prisoner by Phil Tucker – 3 stars Short but brutal. War can awaken new emotions within anyone and make people do life-changing things. Definitely intrigued me enough to give Chronicles of the Black Gate a try. A Simple Thing by Bryce O'Connor - 4 stars I'm a huge fan of assassins and it is always a good feeling when I encounter a well crafted story with said thematic. The story felt like a mission from the Assassin's Creed video game and I had fun reading it. If The Wings of War series resembles the action and the story telling shown here, I'm sure I'm in for a treat. Palesword by T.L. Greylock - 4.5 stars The Song of the Ash Tree series was already high on my tbr list and this story confirmed; the spot is well deserved. I love Norse mythology, especially stories about Thor, and this being a story set in the Norse world, it's no wonder I absolutely loved it. Great prose, excellent world-building and wonderful characters, there is much to like here. Even though it's short, the author managed to provoke a range of emotions so it is suffice to say she is oozing with talent. I'm really looking forward to reading the main series set in this remarkable world. The Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall - 2.5 stars A rumble in the jungle would be a short description of this story. A group of adventures with different agendas venture into some kind of a lost city in the heart of the jungle. Upon their arrival, they're assailed by a beast-like menagerie, and the expedition doesn't go well. A good premise with fun action scenes but the characters failed to resonate with me. Black Barge by J. P. Ashman - 4.5 stars I've never read a fantasy story where gnomes are the main characters and I never thought I would enjoy that kind of story. And then this gem came along. The story is set in the world of the Black Powder Wars series which was on my tbr list for quite some time and after having so much fun with this, I plan to read it much sooner than I thought. This is a story about family, and not so ordinary family, as it turns out. Their adventure is filled with mystery, suspense, thrilling action, magic and great twists. The characters are well written and their interactions were highly enjoyable. Other than gnomes, there are plenty of diverse creatures roaming this world which shows the author is not afraid to try something out of the ordinary. Well done, sir. Making A Killing by David Benem - 2.5 stars A short story about an assassination contract. The main duo were enjoyable, but like the story itself, lack depth. The story was pretty linear and it was missing a twist or two to heighten the suspense. Anyway, I did enjoy the writing and will consider giving the author's novel a try. The First Thread by Alec Hutson - 3 stars A peculiar tale set in the world which resembles the ancient China. I think this story only scratches the surface of this intriguing world and it is a shame it wasn't longer. Vivid and wonderful world-building and well written characters were the high point of this dark tale with an abrupt ending. I wonder if the author's novel, The Crimson Queen, is equally good? Well, only one way to find out. To sum up, some stories worked very well for me, and unfortunately, some did not. I think I would have enjoyed some stories more if I was accustomed with the world beforehand. Nonetheless, this is a good collection of stories and a great way to get acquainted with the authors and their work. So, what are you waiting for?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    The short story is a wonderful art-form entirely different from the novel. And yet, sometimes it's treated as an hors d’oeuvre, tasty but not as satisfying as a full meal. I guess that's one of the reasons anthologies aren't, in general, very popular. Personally, I love the idea of anthologies. I've bought quite a few of them over the years, but I’m always left feeling a little disapointed with them. I tend to approach anthologies with high hopes and big appetite, expecting my mind to be blown a The short story is a wonderful art-form entirely different from the novel. And yet, sometimes it's treated as an hors d’oeuvre, tasty but not as satisfying as a full meal. I guess that's one of the reasons anthologies aren't, in general, very popular. Personally, I love the idea of anthologies. I've bought quite a few of them over the years, but I’m always left feeling a little disapointed with them. I tend to approach anthologies with high hopes and big appetite, expecting my mind to be blown and literary tastes buds fully satisfied. However, it never happens. Usually, the change of pacing, tone from story to story is jarring. Some short stories are exciting and brilliant, others not so much. As a result, when you've just read something brilliant and want to sustain this state of enjoyment a bland short story appears. And suddenly, you loose appetite. That's why I plan to read Lost Lore one story at a time and give each story time to settle before reading the next. I'll review them as I go. Ratings: my personal belief is that many people give 5* too easily. I know it's oftentimes a sign of sympathy and kinship. I know most of Lost Lore authors from r/fantasy (AMAS, interactions) but I won't show them any leniency. You guys are awesome. All of you. But I'll be blunt and honest. I'll stick to goodreads scale (1 - I didn't like it; 2 - it was ok; 3 - I liked it; 4 - I really liked it; 5 - it was amazing). Dr Love, Ph.D. Preface was quite hilarious. As a gentle reader I don't want to get into specifics of how ten SPFBO authors multiplied into much more. Mark is right. Some questions are better left unanswered. No Fairytale by Ben Galley - 3/5 Hereni has a knack for magick. The problem is magick is forbidden and prosecuted. Also, she may have misinterpreted the way magic works in this world. As a result she's draws attention od opposing sites of the ongoing conflict. The story is nicely written and set in the world of Emaneska. I haven't read the novels, so I didn't know some of the characters that, Uncle Google says, appear in the series. I liked the prose, the way the magic was introduced and a bigger conflict hinted. I might be interested in Hereni's future - will her future count or will she become one of many gifted youngsters who'll die in the background og bigger events? I'd like to know that. The story feels like a setup for the novel. Hereni comes to terms with her place in the world and chooses sites a bit too easily. I would say this short story would work better as novella. Or maybe my questions are answered in Emaneska series? Overall, I liked it but didn't love it. And They Were Never Heard from Again by Benedict Patrick - 4/5 A story is a dangerous thing(...). We must value them, we must be careful with them. Set one loose on the world, and you lose all control over your own creation There was a boy and there was a girl. The boy dreamed about the girl. He wanted to meet her and he brought his little brother for a trip through dangerous forest. Things didn't go exactly as planned. The story reads a bit like a dark fairy tale. It's the aspect of Benedict Patricks prose I enjoy. Despite short length, dialogues and characters felt nicely established. The story didn't feel rushed and feels self-contained in a nice way. At times quite poetic, at times more precise the prose added to the story's slightly disquieting ambiance. My only cryticism is a glaring example of using Deus ex Machina to solve the problem. In order to fully understand the situation, knowledge of They Mostly Come Out At Night is helpful. All in all, not predictable and memorable. A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher - 3/5 A boy called Maro isn't a thinker. Instead, his fast and skilled fighter who wants to win a prize - Emerald Blade. In order to do that, he'll probably have to slay his competitors. Steven Kelliher's prose is good. Some nice ideas are here. On the other hand, there's also quite a bit of info-dumping and way too many characters for such a short read. My belief is that short stories are best when they're made simple. This one tried to do too many things. Barrowlands by Mike Shel - 2/5 Trio of morons plans to raid the tombs of the lost nation. When a stranger appera near their campfire, they change plans. They consider selling him and the disturbing content of his bag. Dialogue felt off to me. I didn't connect to any of the characters. None of them intrigued me. There was quite a bit of info-dumping and unnecessary descriptions. Once they're in the tombs pacing becomes breakneck but I felt nothing. No thrill. No fear. Nothing. I'm sorry to say it but tomorrow, when I wake up, I won't remember it. Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle - 4/5 Jelena changes. After her first blood appears her mom sends her on an errand to her grandma. The story has drawn me in. I enjoyed descriptions of the forest and the story inside the story was quite creepy and disturbing. There's a sudden shift in a language and the tone of the story. Dark fairy story turns into very dark and not so fairy story. It's a story about changes in the woman body. The changes we're shown, though, were more than unexpected. I like this one. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton - 2/5 On the one hand, it’s impressive. It seems Dyrk Ashton possesses encyclopedic knowledge of world mythology and is able to wove it into short story retelling Deluge. On the other hand, there’s just too much of everything. It's, undoubtedly, an interesting combination of myths known around the world. They're connected in an interesting way. As a short story, though, it just doesn’t work for me. Changes in POV are jarring, there’s way too many names mentioned to keep track of them. It’s just not what I expect from short story as a literary art-form. I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes - 5/5 I, Diabolos kane, shall hereby tell of the final great events of this blue planet. This account will include a full description of the fell cat - No!No, I was most definitely NOT about to utter the word "cataclysm". It was awesome. Witty, surprising and intelligent. And self-contained. The story is told from first-person perspective of Kain. He’s inhuman. He’s pompous and delightfully supercilious. It seems that people have somehow managed to capture him and plan to execute him. Chained and seemingly defeated, he delivers his final testimony to an interrogator and a scribe. Kain speaks, corrects himself, his style of speech and makes a bit of haughty fun of puny humans. I loved his voice. I loved the twist. I laughed loud few times. It’s excellent, short story with more than a spark of brilliance. I’ll have to keep an eye on this Hughes gal and her literary endeavors. The Huntress by Michael R Miller – 2/5 Human and dragons fight. During fights people die. Such is a fate of Elsie’s beloved one. We observe as Elsie copes with personal and professional issues in a time of war. The story is well written but it didn’t manager to engage me. It felt a bit linear and simple - despite being divided in chapters / parts dealing with different things. There’s more than a fair share of world-building that didn’t particularly impress me. All in all, it just didn’t engage me. The Prisoner by Phil Tucker – 3.5/5 Probably the shortest story in the anthology. Young lord Enderl wants to lead his father’s company of cruel, battle hardened warriors called Black Volves to battle. The thing is his upbringing and idealistic scholarship may not fit well the needs of war. He must embrace darker side of humanity in order to lead. In just few hours of action Enderl makes a transition that’ll change him forever. It was violent and brutal story. It’s done skillfully and doesn’t feel rushed. It doesn’t feel like a setup to a bigger story. It works well on its own. A Simple Thing by Bryce O’Connor -5/5 Killing a man is a simple thing I loved this one. It’s written with bravado and dark humor. An experienced assassin writes in and to his journal about his first job. The assassin tries to learn his Walker daily routine in order to be prepared for every turn of events. Prepare. Plan. Plot. These words were instilled in him by his Master. He treats them seriously. I enjoyed the voice of assassin. It felt light and humorous, even though the subject of first kill shouldn’t be treated as such. I enjoyed the plotting and excellent internalizations. There’s more than few great sentences in here and, above all, I felt totally immersed in the story and assassin’s voice – even though I don’t even know his name. Excellent short story and an author to follow. Palesword by T L Greylock - 3/5 There’s too little fantasy books and worlds inspired by Norse mythology. Fjords doesn’t appear often enough in fantasy literature. But have no fear, T.L. Greylock is here. And she brings some Nordic-inspired goodies. Eyja is a fisherman’s daughter and a priestess in training. The thing is she’s also feisty, impulsive and, sometimes, careless. Soon, she finds herself in bad books of a local priest. There’ll be a price to pay to make things right. It’s nice to see strong and determined female characters like Eyja and Gunnlief. On the other hand, I didn’t genuinely care for them. Truth be told, I found Eyja a bit irritating. I’m sure many readers will root for her. I’m not one of them, though. The Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall - 4/5 I really liked this one. And it’s surprising as it contains more than a bit of world-building and a gallery of monstrosities. And yet, I was literally glued to the pages. Imagine a band of inhuman adventurers on a quest. Not a noble one, though. Their goals are more egoistic – they want to plunder the treasures of forgotten city. Each band member has different goals and desires – some want money, some more power, others different things. Their inhuman, although we don’t learn about the races – whiskers and tusks are mentioned but the author focus lies elsewhere. Even though the story structure was simple, almost D&D alike, I loved it. Characters motivations were varied and the ruins of Hathis had something each of them desired. It wasn’t cheerful story and it probably made some shortcuts. What I read, though, is enough to add the author’s work to my TBR list. Black Barge by J. P. Ashman - 3/5 Tips’ is a gnome who, together with her family, rides a steam powered barge down a canal. The travel turns much darker and dangerous than expected and some secrets are unraveled. Lively action scenes are one of the story's strengths - the atmosphere is fraught with tension and danger. Despite this, I didn’t feel fully immersed In the story. It was lacking something I can’t precisely describe. Making a Killing by David Benem 2.5/5 Fencress Fallcrow teams up with Karnag Mak Ragg to do a killing job in The Dead Messenger inn. She thinks seriously about her career and is motivated to kill. As usually in this kind of jobs things don’t go exactly as planned. Killing a man is easy, really. Except, of course, when it isn’t. While the story was well written and concise I didn’t enjoy characters and tone of the story. The First Thread by Alec Hutson 3/5 The story has unique, oriental setting. Jhenna is a consort of the Emperor. The ways and traditions of the Empire are cruel and bloody. Emperor’s son Prince Ma wants to change it. There’s quite a lot of world building, a bit too much to my liking. The prose is good and it flows nicely through descriptions and dialogue. Overall, it’s nice story. In places it feels slightly inflated and it lacked a punch that would left an imprint on my mind. So. Here we are. The end. Final thoughts? Yes, a few. It’s fantastic that Lost Lore was published. There’s a lot of skilled writers who self-publish their work. Short story format allows the readers to check their writing styles and see if they enjoy it. Most stories were enjoyable for me. I’d like to name four (and four makes for 25% of this book!) favorites. They left a mark on me and I’ll definitely reread them. I, Kane by Laura Hughes – exceptionally entertaining. A great mix of humor and underlying terror. There’s more than a spark of brilliance here. A Simple Thing by Bryce O’Connor – humorous, well plotted, entertaining. Many quotable sentences. Excellent. Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle – strong and bold story with darker story placed in the story. Very good. And They Were Never Heard from Again by Benedict Patrick – nice story with disquieting ambiance. Many of the stories in this anthology should be treated as an introduction to the various worlds each of the writers has cultivated in his own series. And that’s part of the problem. Some of these stories loose punch when a reader doesn’t know the lore. Outside of those that I loved or liked, the stories generally felt a bit rushed or contained way too many information’s. Lots of these stories come from series / lores with loads of world-building associated with them, and writing a short story in a setting like that without alienating / disorienting new reader isn’t an easy task to accomplish. Issues I had with some of the stories ranged from there not being enough information to understand fully what was going on or the significance of what was going on, to getting all of that information in a massive info-dump. Or to having too many characters to keep track of. Ok, that’s enough. You may get an impression I disliked the anthology and it’s simply not true. It’s good anthology with mostly entertaining stories. I give it three stars and it means that I liked it. It also means that not all stories worked for me. They can work for you, though. Given that the Lost Lore is free in most places and 0.99$ on Amazon there’s no risk involved.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hughes

    I've read six of the other stories so far, and can already assure readers they're in for a treat! Can't wait to read the rest, and feel super lucky to have my own story in here alongside such amazingly talented friends and fellow authors. I've read six of the other stories so far, and can already assure readers they're in for a treat! Can't wait to read the rest, and feel super lucky to have my own story in here alongside such amazingly talented friends and fellow authors.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steven Kelliher

    Proud to be a part of an anthology that has taken about a year to come together in full. I promise, for all readers of epic fantasy, dark fantasy and everything in between, this collection will blow your socks off.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    This a great anthology. I liked every story in it and loved a few. Laura M. Hughes was my favorite, by far. There was an average rating of 4.43, but I rounded up to 5 due Mark Lawrence's intro. List: Benedict Patrick - 5 Steven Kelliher - 4 Mike Shel - 5 Timandra Whitecastle - 4 Dyrk Ashton - 4 Laura M. Hughes - 6 Michael R. Miller - 3.5 Phil Tucker - 3 Bryce O'Connor - 5 T.L. Greylock - 5 Jeffrey Hall - 4 JP Ashman - 5 David Benem - 3.5 Alec Hutson - 5 This a great anthology. I liked every story in it and loved a few. Laura M. Hughes was my favorite, by far. There was an average rating of 4.43, but I rounded up to 5 due Mark Lawrence's intro. List: Benedict Patrick - 5 Steven Kelliher - 4 Mike Shel - 5 Timandra Whitecastle - 4 Dyrk Ashton - 4 Laura M. Hughes - 6 Michael R. Miller - 3.5 Phil Tucker - 3 Bryce O'Connor - 5 T.L. Greylock - 5 Jeffrey Hall - 4 JP Ashman - 5 David Benem - 3.5 Alec Hutson - 5

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dyrk Ashton

    Thrilled to be a part of this. And dying to read everyone else's stories! Thrilled to be a part of this. And dying to read everyone else's stories!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    I’ve always found anthologies to be something akin to one of those icebreaker sessions on the first day of school, where everyone gathers ‘round and introduces who they are and shares something interesting about themselves. You get the most minuscule idea of the person as a whole, but hey, they seem pretty cool, that’s my new best friend. Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology, superbly written and curated by fifteen indie authors who all participated in SPFBO, with an introduction by Mark Lawrence, is I’ve always found anthologies to be something akin to one of those icebreaker sessions on the first day of school, where everyone gathers ‘round and introduces who they are and shares something interesting about themselves. You get the most minuscule idea of the person as a whole, but hey, they seem pretty cool, that’s my new best friend. Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology, superbly written and curated by fifteen indie authors who all participated in SPFBO, with an introduction by Mark Lawrence, is one of those anthologies that contains some precious gems hidden within its pages. While some of the short stories may not have completely resonated with me, I was easily able to find something enjoyable in each and every one of them. Each story is as unique as its author - finding something to pique your interest won’t be difficult whatsoever! This book was my first real journey into the wonderful world of self-published fantasy, and it introduced me to some truly remarkable authors, whose other works were instantly put on my to-read list. Allowing people to get a taste of their writing styles in short story form is, in my opinion, absolutely brilliant - staring down at fifteen full-length books to pick and choose from can be quite intimidating! Oh, did I mention it’s free?! No excuses, go read it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Queen Terrible Timy

    When I plunged into reading Lost Lore, I only knew two of the authors' work beforehand: Benedict Patrick, who clawed his way into my favorite authors list last year and Steven Kelliher. Others I heard about but haven't gotten around to read their work: Dyrk Ashton, T. L. Greylock, Timandra Whitecastle, Michael R. Miller, Ben Galley, Phil Tucker. I looked forward to read their stories, and discover some new authors to keep my eyes on. Thankfully, this book give me plenty of them: Laura M. Hughes, When I plunged into reading Lost Lore, I only knew two of the authors' work beforehand: Benedict Patrick, who clawed his way into my favorite authors list last year and Steven Kelliher. Others I heard about but haven't gotten around to read their work: Dyrk Ashton, T. L. Greylock, Timandra Whitecastle, Michael R. Miller, Ben Galley, Phil Tucker. I looked forward to read their stories, and discover some new authors to keep my eyes on. Thankfully, this book give me plenty of them: Laura M. Hughes, Alec Hutson, Jeffrey Hall, Bryce O'Connor. But I'll come back to this in a minute. Usually I'm not into anthologies and/or short stories, because they always leave me wanting more, and unsatisfied. Plus, the quality of the stories tend to vary too much. Well, in this case all the stories were well written, and although not every one of them was up my alley, I could find something to enjoy in every one of them. Some will stay with me for a while, because of their uniqueness, their wit, their concept, their style of writing. My 5 favorite short stories (in no particular order): Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton I was always fond of mythology and found them fascinating. The imagination of humankind is pretty awesome. Some elements can be found in most nations' tales and mythology. The Flood is one of those. I liked the approach of that well known biblical story in Deluge and that it wasn't only about Cessair and her people, but we also got a glimpse of how the whole world was affected. I can see a lot of research behind this one and I always appreciate it. This was my first time reading one of Dyrk's writing and it appealed to me, so it lead me to reading Paternus: Rise of Gods and later Wrath of Gods. The Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall I quite enjoyed this story and liked the totem magic system, which was an interesting concept. I would like to learn more about that and what can be achieved with it. This story is about a band of treasure hunters who go into the abandoned city called Hathis to retrieve something. But what they found didn't make them happy all that much. That they have a strained relationship is an understatement. They all have their own agenda and although Scrape, the MC considered them friends or even family, none of them were that, save for Tama, his best friend. They were all driven by their own greed. Scrape no exception of course. But they all would have abandoned him the moment their treasure was in danger. Still not talking about Tama who was the real hero here. I think his treasure was the real one: his friendship with Scrape. The name Flaw, which haunts the city seems like an interesting choice of name. It made me think of Hathis as the symbol of treasure, something which is desired and the Flaw as the human greed, which destroys everything in order to get what it desires no matter the consequences. As Tama said, Scrape's hubris was indeed their fate as the Flaw was the result of humankind's hubris when they built Hathis. At least that's what I was thinking while reading. As for the characters, I had a hard time picturing them. I couldn't decide if they were animals, humans, humans with animal characteristics or what? Considering everything this was an interesting read and despite its flaws (pun totally intended, hah) I pretty much enjoyed it. I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes Well, this was something else entirely. At first it was confusing to only read one side of the conversation, but by the end I pretty much enjoyed it. Kane, our MC talks about his time on Earth during WWII, while in prison. Liked how the story played out and the different approach to the well known story of creating the world. And the few twist Hughes added to it, beginning with the dragons. Also, I loved the humor! I chuckled while reading. This was hands down one of my favorites of the whole anthology. The Prisoner by Phil Tucker Now, this was a surprising little gem. Short, effective, emotional, interesting, a punch in the gut. I am kind of ashamed I never read anything from Phil Tucker before. I will definitely check his work out. I adored Enderl at the beginning, as he tried to be a good knight, to be noble and everything he read in books about them. Then he faced reality, that there is no honour in battle and unless he receives respect from the Wolfes they will never acknowledge him as their leader. Only then can he show them his ways. Maybe a better way even. So he made decided to make sacrifices. I guess at that point he made peace with himself and learned that sometimes you have to do things against your better judgement to be the man you are supposed to become. This short story really showed a large scale of emotions, and I didn't want it to end. I was pretty much drawn into it. And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick We are back in the Magpie King's Forest! Yay! Benedict had become one of my favorite authors last year so I was pretty much looking forward to his short story. I wasn't disappointed at all. I think there are only a few writers out there who can put together a short story which leaves you with the feeling of completeness. I mean we've got an interesting story, fully fleshed out characters and some things to think about. A story about how stories are made. Nice one. I think this is how most of humanity's mythological tales came around with time. Two boys are lost in the forest and they have to face the consequences of their actions and learn how powerful words can be together with faith. This story had a few lessons you had to let sink in at the end. Let's not forget about the others, whose stories I also enjoyed but couldn't make it to the short list: No Fairytale by Ben Galley A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher Barrowlands by Mike Shel Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle The Huntress by Michael R. Miller A Simple Thing by Bryce O'Connor Palesword by T.L. Greylock Black Barge by J.P. Ashman Making a Killing by David Benem The First Thread by Alec Hutson You are looking for something new to sink your teeth into? Don't look anymore! Lost Lore has it all:  mythology, epic fantasy, grimdark, twisted fairy tales, cool assassins, unusual worlds, humor and a lot to think on! Sure, some of them has flaws, and won't be your taste, but on the other hand, you'll find some treasure which will make it worth. Besides, it's free and all of these indie authors are talented as hell. Give them a chance and you might find your next favorite author/series!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard Nell

    Very much enjoyed this. As with most anthologies some didn't work for me, others I savored, but then that's the beauty of so many stories/writers together. I should also note that this was my first experience with most of the writers, save for T.L. Greylock (read 1 book), and Ben Galley (his story in Art of War anthology). Yet again, my TBR has grown more monstrous. My top 5: 5. And they were never heard from again - Benedict Patrick A sort of dark fairytale. I enjoyed the characters and prose, bu Very much enjoyed this. As with most anthologies some didn't work for me, others I savored, but then that's the beauty of so many stories/writers together. I should also note that this was my first experience with most of the writers, save for T.L. Greylock (read 1 book), and Ben Galley (his story in Art of War anthology). Yet again, my TBR has grown more monstrous. My top 5: 5. And they were never heard from again - Benedict Patrick A sort of dark fairytale. I enjoyed the characters and prose, but I loved the magic and creativity. If one can expect the same from They Mostly Come Out At Night, it should be a fascinating read. 4. I, Kane - Laura M. Hughes This was great, though it's kind of hard to explain and should really just be read and enjoyed (I'm not sure it even needed the little introduction at the start!). I assume my approval of Kane and his writing style makes me terrible, but I don't care. Also that's the most dedicated scribe ever. Danse Macabre officially on the list. 3. Paternus: Deluge - Dyrk Ashton Wow. If you're into mythology, or if you're a Neil Gaiman fan, this is your guy. I get a sort of prequel-to-American-Gods vibe, and a brief glance at the blurb of Paternus: Rise of Gods makes me think it's going to be a similarly wild, insane, enjoyable journey. Also the descriptions were great, for a minute there I really felt like I was on that damn boat. 2. Palesword by TL Greylock Unsurprisingly (I've read Ms. Greylock before) this is a norse fantasy story done right. The characters are interesting, the plot intrigues. I really can't recommend her The Blood-Tainted Winter enough, but this is a great taste of the writing if you need to see for yourself. 1. The First Thread - Alec Hutson I was certainly not expecting this. The writing is absolutely excellent, and Mr. Hutson accomplishes a hugely impressive story in very few words. I was kept awake reading, and pulled through it as just a fantasy-fan and not a fantasy-writer, which is both rare and exceptionally welcome. You can be sure I'll be reading The Crimson Queen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (bunnyreads)

    This was great collection that enabled me to check out some of the authors I have been wanting to try and just haven’t gotten around to. While all of these stories were good, like with all anthologies there were some I liked better or thought were more suited to short story form than others which makes it a bit hard to rate, so I am going to go somewhere in the middle- think of it as a 3.5 (this is when that half star would be helpful) since I liked everything but didn't love everything. Also I This was great collection that enabled me to check out some of the authors I have been wanting to try and just haven’t gotten around to. While all of these stories were good, like with all anthologies there were some I liked better or thought were more suited to short story form than others which makes it a bit hard to rate, so I am going to go somewhere in the middle- think of it as a 3.5 (this is when that half star would be helpful) since I liked everything but didn't love everything. Also I have managed to fall behind a bit on reviewing so, I am going to be totally lazy and just post some of my thoughts that I wrote in the readalong for each. No Fairytale by Ben Galley This had a clear and quick feeling style with a nice balance of action and characters. Liked the characters and that the introductions into the world are enough to give you a taste of what the series will be like. And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick I love the whole creepy dark fairytale/moral to the story kind of vibe to this and I liked that we see that in this little short. Though the ending felt a little sudden it does leave us to decide for ourselves if little Tad recovers (and of course I choose to believe he does). Great story. A Tree called Sightless by Steven Kelliher This one felt like a big fantasy epic which considering it was a short, is good and bad. It started a bit slow for me, mostly I think because of the style of the writing but it also felt like more of a complete world in this little story than you normally get in a short. It was an intriguing world though and I wished I had read at least Valley of the Embers, so I could fully understand the culture. Barrowlands by Mike Shel This author definitely has a knack for dark and grim settings. This felt a lot like the style of fantasy I grew up on, a little bleak, a lot of squishy descriptions and an ending that was slightly ambiguous. Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle The style, the story, the imagery, everything about it appealed to me. I have had a Touch of Iron on my amazon wish-list for about a year and this is going to be pushing it right on up. It's kind of creepy and has that dark fairytale feel that I love so much. This story was my favorite of them all! Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton I enjoyed the mythical/lore story feel to this story and how they have been developed it into something that feels like it could fit together into our present world and actually make sense. So much research involved! I, Kane by Laura M Hughes I wasn't sure what to think at first but I ended up chuckling over this a lot. It did appeal to my kind of dark sense of humor and I really can’t help but laugh a little at the arrogance of Kane, and the poor scribe during this short. This one really stood out just because it was so different. The Huntress by Michael Miller Nice style and I appreciated the ease with which it drew you into the story. As a mother I could relate to the heartbreak of leaving your baby behind and returning to see he's grown so much. But this did feel like it came from a world that I would have liked to know more about when reading this short, especially the Dragons. The Prisoner by Phil Tucker This story grabs you right away- in this short little window of Enderl’s life, I felt so many emotions for this guy, everything from pity to disgust. This gets brutal fast but there is definitely some great writing here! A Simple Thing by Bryce O’Connor This was a good solid little story. The voice of the assassin was perfect, the length is perfect. I liked the style a lot- it’s clear while not being simple, and there was just enough of a lighter tone to make me like the guy. This was another winner. Palesword by TL Greylock The writing style felt appropriate to the story. The beginning was a bit hit and miss with me but it got stronger as it went. I liked the characters (though it took me a bit to warm up to Eyja), I do think Eyja and Gunnleif and where they go from here would be a great story. Also this little short did what I think these short stories should do, and that is get you interested in the world that it is from. The Light in the Jungle by Jeffery Hall This reminded me of some of the old Forgotten Realms stuff with its monster infested lost city and a treasure hunt that goes all wrong. I thought the world was pretty cool with the totems, and the plant magic etc... There was also some great creepy monster moments, especially with the spider and it web of guts. DX Black Powder war JP Ashman This story had lots of little mysteries and things to keep you wondering. I really liked the inclusions of the locks (which I think is one of the neatest innovations ever) and the armored barge was pretty cool. Also, this was very atmospheric. Making a Killing by David Brenan This was well written and I liked Fencress. I did wish for more of an aftermath or something because the way it ended felt so abrupt. After all that action and that decision… and I was like WAIT, it can’t be over! I have questions! Which, I guess in a way is good, the story does make you want to find out more about this world and these people. The First Thread by Alec Hutson Love the setting and the characters. It had some almost creepy moments and a glimpse of a what looked like would be a larger story I’d find pretty cool. Though this felt more like a prologue to a big epic story than a short. So, lots of new stories and authors add to my ever increasing to-read pile because of this anthology. Not sure if I should dock stars for that or not. ;)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    Reading this as part of a readalong :) Invited by the one and only Benedict Patrick, Thank you by the way!! Join us : Lost Lore Readalong Reading this as part of a readalong :) Invited by the one and only Benedict Patrick, Thank you by the way!! Join us : Lost Lore Readalong

  16. 4 out of 5

    T.L.

    Can't wait to share this! Can't wait to share this!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I received an early copy of this anthology from one of its authors for an honest review. This is a free anthology! That's right, FREE! so there's no reason why people shouldn't wish to give this a try. To be honest, this collection didn't impress me as much as the Art of War anthology did. The stories were okay but mostly 3 stars or less (in my opinion). The exception to these were my favourites as follows:- Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton. As the title suggests it is from his Paternus world and d I received an early copy of this anthology from one of its authors for an honest review. This is a free anthology! That's right, FREE! so there's no reason why people shouldn't wish to give this a try. To be honest, this collection didn't impress me as much as the Art of War anthology did. The stories were okay but mostly 3 stars or less (in my opinion). The exception to these were my favourites as follows:- Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton. As the title suggests it is from his Paternus world and details the events of the great flood, (from the perspective of those on an Ark). A sea monster and Dyrk's usual array of well-researched figures from Mythology make this short story very readable. 4/5 The Huntress by Michael R Miller. This story is set 700 years before the events of The Dragon's Blade trilogy and highlights some more of the reasons why humans and Dragon-kin do not get along. It was a little slow at the beginning but once I recognised a couple of big names from the main series I became enthralled. This would work as an introduction to the main series, for me and also gets 4/5 Black Barge by J.P. Ashman. A gnome barge travels the canal, harassed by goblins but why? Does it carry priceless cargo? Is there someone important aboard? Does it perhaps hide a dark secret? Will the story's main character, Tips find out? What is her true ancestry? It all becomes clear in the end that this story is very strongly connected with Ashman's Black Cross series. I'll say no more, just read and enjoy. 4/5 Those were my three favourites but I quite liked: Making a Killing by David Benem. 3/5 No Fairytale by Ben Galley. 3/5 The Era Beast by T.A Miles. 3/5 The Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher. 3/5 I'm sure that the rest of you will come up with stories that you like that I didn't. My review varies from that of Booknest's Petrik Leo in that way, we can't all like the same stuff, though. I would say this is well worth reading, you will certainly find something you like in this anthology, perhaps one or two new authors whose work you haven't come across before. It's free so give it a go!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben Galley

    I'm thrilled to be part of this anthology, and I can't wait to dig my teeth into the rest of the stories! I'm thrilled to be part of this anthology, and I can't wait to dig my teeth into the rest of the stories!

  19. 5 out of 5

    T.O. Munro

    My fondness for anthologies dates back to my early reading days when first “The Ten Tales of Shellover” and then a translation of the Dutch classic “King of The Copper Mountains” kept me enthralled from one night’s reading to the next. In Lost Lore we have an eclectic mix of very different tales by very different writers, that still kept me devouring stories at a more rapid rate than the one a night of my childhood. Lost Lore kept me entertained and frantically noting many lines that charmed, or My fondness for anthologies dates back to my early reading days when first “The Ten Tales of Shellover” and then a translation of the Dutch classic “King of The Copper Mountains” kept me enthralled from one night’s reading to the next. In Lost Lore we have an eclectic mix of very different tales by very different writers, that still kept me devouring stories at a more rapid rate than the one a night of my childhood. Lost Lore kept me entertained and frantically noting many lines that charmed, or shocked or amused me. The windows into so many different worlds, through the lenses of so many varied imaginations are too individual for a collective commentary so each gets their own mini-review. With so many quality stories it is difficult to pick a favourite, but I would say that Bryce O’Connor’s “A Simple Thing” is my primus inter pares. No Fairytale by Ben Galley, “Not everybody can have their name roared at roof-beams over the clash of tankards.” But a girl can dream and a girl can play games to fire her imagination and toy with new discovered talents, but fifteen year old Hereni’s life and that of her family is about to take a sharp turn in a new direction. Galley takes a familiar theme of farm girl awakening to latent powers, but denies his heroine that prophetic primacy that so many stories pursue. While Hereni may be “one” she is not “the one” still less “the chosen/only one.” Through a rapid sequence of trials and experiences, Hereni must come to terms with her place in the challenges ahead and decide who she will stand with and for. And They Were Never Heard from Again by Benedict Patrick Felton is on a mission and has lured his little brother Tad along to cover his true intent. The adolescent Fenton actions are driven not so much by the head as by the heart, or perhaps a somewhat lower organ! But the journey through the forest is fraught with danger, for little boys were not meant to be out after dark – the night belongs to other things. Patrick’s story has an inventive take on the theme of belief and stories. It reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods or the Dr Who episode where Martha Jones spent a year telling the world about the Doctor. In both cases stories beget belief and belief begets faith, so too it is Patrick’s world. A story can be a dangerous thing, taken up by others and twisted in a game of Chinese whispers until the hive-imagination of a frightened people imbue a story with its own power. At the end Patrick’s doughty brothers have to find a way to change the story in order to save themselves. A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher Kelliher throws you into the head of a boy called Maro facing a challenge that reminded me a bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That is in so far as there are children competing for a prize in a maze-like environment. However, unlike Harry, Maro is really not a nice person. His intention, indeed his desire, is to kill all the competitors in pursuit of the ultimate prize – and he doesn’t plan on stopping the killing spree there. The story grew on me in the telling and there were several lines that particularly caught my eye. Like this one “…the Willows… with their prophecies and gathered truths that were only a goat’s intestine away from being the same as the Blood Seers of the west; these were beings worthy of hate. If Maro could find the time for it, he thought he might give them his.” Barrowlands by Mike Shel A young warrior, Hesk, leads two desperate rogues in a foolish and indeed illegal attempt to raid the tombs and the treasures of the lost nation of the Djao. When a blood-stained stranger and his truncated companion wander into their camp, their plan changes and then changes again as the land begins to divulge its secrets. Not since Howard Carter opened Tutankhamun’s tomb has grave desecration encountered such potential for disaster. This well written piece is full of striking descriptions, such as a cavern of skeletons – “… clothing and flesh had rotted away long ago. Now they were intertwined in morbid intimacy.” Throughout there is a louring sense of doom as Hesk tries to balance the cheerfully murderous intent of his larcenous associates and the cryptic mutterings of their driven new companion. Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle Jelena is a girl coming into womanhood, sent out – with a red shawl about her head – to run an errand to grandma. Whitecastle swiftly turns any perception of a Red Riding Hood style adventure, not so much on its head as inside out – and the tale is not the only thing that experiences some surprising inversions. Whitecastle’s world has Jelena being scion of a seafaring race now landbound living in timber lodges, near the stone ruins of a race of wights they once traded with. The wights might, in another story have been termed elves, for they do not appear to have been the conventional undead of D&D fame, but then there are enough elves in stories - not all lost races should rely on pointy ears for their mystery. Again I found lines to savour. “Winds coming down from the mountains had met winds on the water, and together they danced their storm dances, whipping the trees into curious shapes.” or “… lichen like old men’s beards hung limply from the intertwined branches overhead.” The spine of the story is a tale told by Grandma to the young girl. The banter between child and adult is convincing though – when Grandma’s story reaches its bloody denouement I did wonder at a sudden shift in her language. I’m sure my grandmother never used such terms in conversation with me or my sister, but then the sheer brutality of the event – a twist that totally surprised me – swept me swiftly along and away from any quibbles of an old woman’s terminology. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton For those familiar with Ashton’s sprawling epic, Paternus, Deluge is splattered with familiar motifs of demigods like the firstborn – part animal part human appearing in the lives of many different peoples. Ashton’s encylopedic mastery of the range of human myths enable him to weave a thread that joins Egyptian gods and Irish myth, Celtic fables and Biblical deluge. Ashton is the master at seeing and creating patterns, and in this re-imagining of the deluge he rationalises the world-wide prevalence of flood myths in diverse and disconnected peoples. It’s a topic that interests me from a different angle – so please forgive a little digression. My daughter is a quaternary scientist whose studies covered the end of the last ice age – a mere 10,000 years ago – within the reach of tribal memories handed down from generation to generation. When so much water was locked up in glaciers squatting on land masses, sea-levels were far lower than today. Great Britain was not an island, the English Channel was a wide river basin along which the extended Rhine flowed all the way to the Atlantic. The Dogger Bank was not a shallow patch of the North Sea, but a patch of highland in a broad plain that stretched from mountains that became the Orkney Islands to the Scheldt. The sea level rise that came with a different kind of global warming was not a gradual affair. The sudden collapse of unstable icesheets triggered tsunamis that washed away entire communities, imprinting a sense of waterborne disaster on collective memories. This then for me, seems the likeliest origin of the universality of flood myths within human consciousness. That digression aside, Ashton spins an entertaining tale that blends archeology and myth in a telling that reads like one might an imagine a skald regaling a norse lord in his feasting hall, or a bard singing in a celtic tavern. I, Kane – by Laura M. Hughes I’d just read this twitter thread https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/st... about the danger of Donald Trump before I picked up Lost Lore story 8 and read the protagonist pronounce “the imminent fall of the world you call ‘Earth’” The one known as Kane goes on “My tale is one of fatal hubris (aren’t they all) and tells how mankind worked to bring about its own declension through pursuit of an absurd conviction: namely, that one has the right to impose one’s ideology upon others using fear, fire and lead.” I have to that hope real life and the story do not follow too closely on from this startling opening. In Kind Hearts and Coronets, the framing scenes feature a protagonist on the eve of his execution reflecting on Johnson’s saying that imminent death “concentrates his mind wonderfully.” The same is true of Hughes eponymous hero, the mysterious but radiantly powerful creature known as Kane. In some subterranean cavern on one of the most inauspicious dates in human history, the chained Kane delivers his final testimony to an interrogator and a dutiful scribe – determined to be as precise as any court stenographer. The tale is presented as the scribed record of every word and utterance of the mighty Kane down to the last sigh. As such this is a powerful and entertaining first-person story carried by the mellifluous voice of Kane. Hughes creates a convincing and humorous persona for her strange hero, at once charming yet, pompous, courteous yet overbearing and delightfully ingenuously oblivious of the effect he is having on the two attendants in his last hours. A fascinating story that sweeps the reader along so well they would have stayed in that underground prison just to hear Kane roll out more lines like this as he describe one hapless human “It appears my earlier suspicions were correct: naught but jelly beneath a shallow crust of courtesy.” The Huntress by Michael R Miller Miller’s tale is of Elsie and her personal and professional struggles in a land of humans invaded by dragons - or at least dragons in human form. It is a motif - almost a sub-genre that I was aware of but have not read widely in. In The Huntress we do not see any dragons in full winged Smaug glory and I am not sure if that is how Miller’s dragons operate. Instead dragon becomes a cypher for a race of super-powered arrogant graceful humanoids. Not quite indestructible - but almost so, and determined to subjugate the puny humans they invaded. In The Huntress, more so than in the other stories in Lost Lore, we have explicit world building and link to Miller’s main trilogy – to which this short forms part prequel, part back story to the main event that occurs seven centuries later. We meet Elsie – eponymous heroine - returning to the hunt after a nine-month lay off. Cu-sih, the fearsome howling hounds of her homeland, are the least of her worries as circumstances conspire to test her powers of love, of command, and of compassion. Even the threat of the soon-to-be- legendary Dragon Prince Dronithir, pales as in the end Elsie is forced to make her own “Sophie’s choice.” The Prisoner by Phil Tucker Although one of the shorter tales in the anthology, there is a visceral heat to Tucker’s story that grabs the reader. The challenge of leadership, of inspiring a disparate and desperate group of individuals transcends genres. Tucker’s antagonist, young lordling Enderl, embraces his first opportunity to lead his father’s company of brutal soldiers – the Black Wolves – in battle. Whether his enthusiasm lasts, or is even shared by the men, is for the reader to discover. But, in the course of a few hours of action, Tucker skilfully depicts Enderl’s transition as he tries to meld his idealism with the brutal pragmatism of battle. Tucker writes well with several lines to catch the eye – and this one appealed particularly. “The portcullis was rising like the skirt of a withered hag grimly intent on displaying her goods.” A Simple Thing by Bryce O’Connor The difference between writing in the first person point of view or third person point of view, for me is like the difference between acting and directing. First person stories are carried by the quality of the protagonist’s voice which must be distinct from an author’s voice. O’Connor manages this superbly in a tale of an assassin reflecting on his first kill. Not since I read Polansky’s Low Town series have I finished reading a story before realising I did not know the protagonist’s name, neither heard it nor needed to, so convincing is the voice that carried me rapidly through a meticulously planned contract. Written as the opening entry in a hopefully soon to be available full journal, the anonymous assassin’s tale not only gripped me with the sense of foreboding that only truly meticulous plans can instil, but also had me stopping to note lines of particular delight. “It is only the assassin, however, who can slip a blade up the shield-bearer’s ass and convince him he swallowed it.” “My walker was … a creature of habit. Such men are a rare and ripe fruit in my profession.” “There is a moment in most men’s lives where they come to accept what it is they are, wherever it is the adventure of life has led them.” For me that is an impressive hit rate of memorable lines for a novel, let alone a short story. Palesword by T.L.Greylock I was acquainted with Greylock’s world of fjords and Norse Gods through having read Raef Skallagrim’s oddessy in Blood Tainted Winter. This lost lore short story explores the back story to one significant relic that coloured Skallagrim’s tale – the palesword. Greylock’s protagonist - Eyja - fisherman’s daughter and would be priestess, is a feisty individual who we glimpse at different stages in her search to achieve and to belong within her strained community. It is always refreshing to see female characters like Eyja and Gunnlief the shield maiden leading the story to its denouement with agency and independence. Some of the men do not acquit themselves so well in the face of Eyja’s fierce determination – as captured in this couple of lines. “Help me, Kolli, or watch. I care not. But do not think to tell me what is best for me.” “Eyja saw Kolli in the crowd, saw the cowardice in his eyes.” The Light in the Jungle by Jeffrey Hall The opening of Jeffrey Hall’s taut short story is pure dungeons and dragons. An ill-sorted party of adventurers stand on the threshold of an epic ruin determined to plunder the treasures of a lost people. There is even a scene later on in the story which put me very much in mind of the cover of my original player’s handbook. However, Hall’s world is sharply different from anything Gary Gygax imagined. The five different characters quickly and naturally reveal their individualities of personality, of power, of race. Hall does not ram their otherness down the reader’s throats with lengthy descriptions. Instead we glean that from references to whiskers and tusks and tongues that deviate from normal human experience. I liked Laughs, the character who can talk to plants far more persuasively than he talks to women (insert your own Prince Charles joke here). The character’s motivations are as diverse as their natures, each seeking something different from the flawed ruins of Hathis. The leader, Scrap, is prepared to gamble anything in seeking the priceless treasures of his lost family. Hall conveys effectively some distinctive features of an imaginative other world – systems of magic and denizens of evil that may tempt many a reader into exploring more of his writing. Black Barge – by J.P.Ashman John Wayne first rode to cinematic glory as the Ringo Kid in the film Stagecoach – an eclectic collection of characters journeying in peril across an old fashioned wild wild west (a milieu now powerfully re-imagined in the brilliant Hostiles – but that’s another review). Ashman’s antagonist Tips doesn’t walk quite as tall as Big John, on account of being a gnome, and rather than a stagecoach Tips and her small family ride a steam powered barge down a canal. But even a journey along a leisurely waterway can encounter hostile intent and even a small barge can hide some big secrets. Ashman writes lively action sequences spinning a nice turn of phrase. “The well-kept engine did what the unkept cleaver had not and finished its victim.” References to the main work creep in as ties between the boat crew and one of Black Cross’s key characters slowly emerge from within the barge’s capacious hold. Making a Killing – by David Benem The Dead Messenger is a strange name for a strange Inn and, at one point set me in mind of the dead letter boxes that were such a feature of John Le Carre spy thrillers. Fencress Fallcrow is stepping up in the world, or down depending on your moral perspective, and teams up with the redoubtable Karnag Mak Ragg to take on the next stage in her career – to pursue the dark rewards of dark work. But as the innkeeper observes “The dark work always bloodies more hands than those doing it.” Fencress is a resourceful young woman and – in this engaging little short – displays her subtle skills and inventiveness while she considers whether she has the resolve for the work ahead. One wonders which will put up more of a struggle, the target or her conscience. The First Thread - by Alec Hutson Jhenna is a consort of the Emperor and Prince Ma is his son raised in a tradition that believes whatever doesn’t kill you makes you strong – so Prince Ma must be pretty strong. Superstition and court politics intermingle in a story flavoured with the orient. Disasterous portents call for extreme measures and Jhenna – silent witness to both natural tragedies and the imperial response is haunted by what she sees. Prince Ma, unlike his father, is determined to change not just how things are done, but to change things that have been done. The world building is convincing. I like the logic to the four warlocks of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, appointed for life like American Supreme Court judges, but promoted in turn. Hutson writes well, fluid prose carrying the reader along – but, in First Thread, as in all good stories, things are never quite as they appear. Those who pull at a loose thread risk unravelling an entire jumper.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Full review is here, on my blog! I’d say it’s not often that I find an anthology in which I like every story presented, or at least not dislike any of them, but I find that this is happening more and more as of late. I don’t know if it’s the books that’ve changed or if I’m just making better reading decisions. I mean in the last two cases, it were books that were given to me (that I would have read either way), so maybe it’s a bit of both? I’ll take it! So, I once again really liked 99.9% of this a Full review is here, on my blog! I’d say it’s not often that I find an anthology in which I like every story presented, or at least not dislike any of them, but I find that this is happening more and more as of late. I don’t know if it’s the books that’ve changed or if I’m just making better reading decisions. I mean in the last two cases, it were books that were given to me (that I would have read either way), so maybe it’s a bit of both? I’ll take it! So, I once again really liked 99.9% of this anthology, which is rare (but not, I guess?) for me. It was a really great blend of different kinds of stories, and some are darker than others. Some are funnier than others. Anyways, here are a few favorites of mine from the anthology: No Fairytale by Ben Galley – This is an introduction to his Emaneska series. It’s the story of a young girl named Hereni who has recently found that she’s got magic powers. She wakes one night to disaster striking her family, and is then saved by another group of magic users, led by a man named Farden, who bring her to their enclave. It was a really well written bit of story, and I’m definitely going to check out the Emaneska series in the future! And They Were Never Heard From Again by Benedict Patrick – This was a fantastic story to bring someone into the Yarnsworld. It takes place in the forest of They Mostly Come Out at Night, and as such, is pretty dark and creepy. It follows brothers Felton and Tad as they get caught outside after dark, and shows just exactly what harm spinning yarns in the Yarnsworld will bring. A Tree Called Sightless by Steven Kelliher – This is, more or less, a bit of the background on how the Emerald Blade became the Emerald Blade. It follows some characters from the second book of the Landkist series, primary Maro, the greatest warrior of the Emerald Road, but don’t worry anyone, it doesn’t spoil anything from any of the books in the series. It fleshes out a little bit of background for one of the characters in a way that leaves the main plot well enough alone. Well done! Into the Woods by Timandra Whitecastle – This story brought to mind all kinds of folktales. Everything from Red Riding Hood to Sleeping Beauty and more. It follows Jalena, who has just ‘become a woman,’ as she visits her grandmother, who tells her a story of a man who ran away from his life into the woods and had a very interesting adventure. This story was riveting, often kind of creepy, and felt very ‘old world,’ if that makes sense, while still seeming to take place in the same world as The Living Blade series. Paternus: Deluge by Dyrk Ashton – Paternus is a mixture of many mythologies, which is something I have always loved about it. In this universe (and ours, too, but maybe in a different fashion) there are a few large events that happen to and surrounding the Firstborn, usually along the line of an extinction event. Things like the great Flood and Ragnarok and so on. This is the story of one of those (guess which, lol), which follows the story of Fintán mac Bochra, the man who, so the stories say, brought Noah’s granddaughter to Ireland before the flood, and survived it by becoming a salmon. This story has a lot of good imagery. I’ve recently learned what it’s actually like to run from a flood, and this one made me feel like I was there (though I don’t mean this in a bad way). I, Kane by Laura M. Hughes – What a fantastic little bit of story this is! It is the transcribed notes of one Diabolos Kane, Senior Elder One, Bane of Wizards (and lizards), et cetera, scribed word for word just as he spoke them. He’s clearly a being from a higher plane of existence than humans, but he is among them, just after WWII, being interrogated by one. This story is hilarious at times, and was really unique! It also went from 0 to ‘well, that just happened’ very quickly. 10/10 The Prisoner by Phil Tucker – A short story (shortest in the whole anthology, but that’s not a criticism – it’s exactly as long as it needs to be) that introduces the reader to the world of the Chronicles of the Black Gate. A young Enderl Kyferin is at his first battle, leading his first regiment, and it’s not really going how he thought it would. This is a really interesting look at one of the (probably many) factors that made Enderl the character we all know and love. Palesword by T.L. Greylock – It started out a little slowly for me, and I wasn’t sure where it was going, but suddenly I was like ‘FUCK YEAH EYJA!’ and the rest of it was literally just me cheering for her. This was a great introduction to T.L. Greylock’s Midgard, which seems to me, a lover of most things Norse mythology, to be pretty damn entertaining while staying pretty close to what folklore tells us. The ending of this bit of story was fantastic. This story was only about 20 or so minutes of me sitting there reading it, but my emotions went from meh, to outrage, to cheering, to more outrage to more cheering. 10/10, would emote to again. The First Thread by Alec Hutson – Wow this story was awesome! I don’t know what I really expected going in. I haven’t ever read any of Alec Huston’s work. I have one on the kindle waiting to go, and I know it’s a finalist in this year’s SPFBO, but that’s all I knew going in. This is the story of a girl from the steppes who is now an imperial consort in the Shen empire. She befriends the prince, and together they go watch a ritual performed by the imperial warlocks that is… not what they expected. And the consequence of the ritual is doubly unexpected. My eyes were riveted to this story from beginning to end, so it’s pretty clear that The Crimson Queen is in my near future!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bookwraiths

    Overall a good anthology focused on introducing new readers to these authors and their signature worlds. Some stories were more satisfying than others, and all of them had open ended conclusions, which wasn’t very satisfying for me personally, but I believe this was by design to leave you wanting more. Not sure if this will be an anthology I find myself craving to reread, but it isn’t one I regret giving a try, because there are a few authors here whose further works I will be purchasing in the Overall a good anthology focused on introducing new readers to these authors and their signature worlds. Some stories were more satisfying than others, and all of them had open ended conclusions, which wasn’t very satisfying for me personally, but I believe this was by design to leave you wanting more. Not sure if this will be an anthology I find myself craving to reread, but it isn’t one I regret giving a try, because there are a few authors here whose further works I will be purchasing in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sepidaar

    No fairytale: 4 * And they were never heard from again: 3.5 * A Tree called Sightless: 2 * Barrowlands: 4 Into the woods: 3 Paternus:Deluge: 4 * I, Kane: 3 The Huntress: 4 The prisoner: 2.5 A simple thing: 3.5 Palesword: 4 The light in the Jungle: 4 Black Barge: 4 Making a Killing: 2.5 The First Thread: 3.5 The final rating has nothing to do with these numbers! I really enjoyed the book so I gave it 4 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J.M.

    Strong offerings make this anthology worth your time. Lost Lore accomplishes its task of introducing readers to several amazing indie voices in dark epic fantasy. I’m excited to add so many new authors to my to-read pile!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Hennessy

    A charming and enjoyable collection of short stories from a top group of indie fantasy authors. A good way to tip your toe into indie fantasy before being fully committed. Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marielle

    Excellent anthology! Very happy to add yet another few authors to my tbr!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alyssia Cooke

    Lost law; another fantasy anthology for my collection. It's been a year for the short stories it seems. This one based on the forgotten stories in the background. And Ben Galley certainly catches my attention in the opening lines of No Fairytale as he tells us that we are all stories; line after line and written at the speed of your heartbeat. It's a poetic start and one that bodes well, as indeed does the tone and style of the tale which is fast paced and engaging. I found And They Were Never H Lost law; another fantasy anthology for my collection. It's been a year for the short stories it seems. This one based on the forgotten stories in the background. And Ben Galley certainly catches my attention in the opening lines of No Fairytale as he tells us that we are all stories; line after line and written at the speed of your heartbeat. It's a poetic start and one that bodes well, as indeed does the tone and style of the tale which is fast paced and engaging. I found And They Were Never Heard From Again equally fascinating as it explores the roots of stories and how in growing from mouth to mouth we can lose control of them. It's a bitter sweet little tale and shows both love, loss and hope. A Tree Called Sightless never caught my attention but the story of ruin hunters and an insane Syraeic agent caught Nd held me in Barrowlands. The characters here are wonderfully drawn and the beginnings of the world building fascinated me. We move into the realms of faith and fantasy in Paternus: Deluge and I, Kane. I don't need much of an excuse to read Dyrk Ashton's works and this is an interesting look at the story of the Biblical flood, bringing in various different cultures and myths, whilst the latter puts a whole different spin on the epic conflict between and what we know as the devil and God, for the story we tend to remember is of he who shouts the loudest. From the almost scholarly approach of Deluge, this is definitely tongue in cheek with a dragon devil taking credit for creation, but rather entertaining and certainly well written. We are back into more standard fantasy fare with The Huntress and Michael R. Miller effortlessly draws you into his fantasy world, despite the tale being set hundreds of years before his main series. A war between dragons and humans is raging and we step into the shoes of one huntress forced to abandon her child and go to the front lines; the world building here is superb, as indeed are the characterisations and whilst there is definitely a significant amount of action, it works to build up the tension and the characters rather than descending into mindless violence. Phil Tucker keeps things short and sweet in The Prisoner as he depicts a young prince trying to find a balance between his piety and control of his far more brutal men and we stay on the darker edges of fantasy with A Simple Thing, as an old assassin thinks back on his first assignment and muses that killing a man is a simple thing... except for when it isn't. These two pieces juxtapose each other well, one highlighting the harsh brutalities of war and the other the far more methodical act of planning to kill a man. I found that Palesword took a slightly different turn, almost into the realm of a prequel to epic fantasy. It certainly had mire emotion and depth than the follow up, The Light In Jungle which fell into an almost Indianna Jones style... just where more people die. I found this and Black Barge lacking somewhat - both too preoccupied with violence and swearing to offer any real depth. Both Making a Killing and The First Thread however are excellent. The first being a very dark little tale documenting an assassination and the second equally dark but exploring the beginning of the end for a kingdom. There is particular power in The First Thread and it manages to be both heart wrenching and distinctly creepy, offering a glimpse at the depth of this land and the beginning of some wonderful world building. All in all, this is an excellent anthology with some real gems in it. There are a few weaker links but by and large near all of these tales offer something to catch your attention and draw you in. I've found myself purchasing some of the full works of several authors here and that is always a testament to quality.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mihir

    Review to come

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julian White

    An interesting concept (think the history/story bits of the Lord of the Rings appendices) which provide the background/lore to some fictional worlds. A bit of a mixed bag - there were several standout stories (And They were Never Heard From Again; Into the Woods - both about storytelling and the power of words; A Simple Thing; The First Thread. Three of these make me want to read further in those worlds and I'd like more from the fourth as well, just not quite so much) and a few with intriguing An interesting concept (think the history/story bits of the Lord of the Rings appendices) which provide the background/lore to some fictional worlds. A bit of a mixed bag - there were several standout stories (And They were Never Heard From Again; Into the Woods - both about storytelling and the power of words; A Simple Thing; The First Thread. Three of these make me want to read further in those worlds and I'd like more from the fourth as well, just not quite so much) and a few with intriguing premises. There was only one that didn't quite work for me. This was/is a free anthology and well worth reading

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    An eclectic mix of short stories from some of my favorite independent authors. A must-read for fans of the genre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah | thebookwormsfeast

    I had never read any work by these authors before but I absolutely loved their work - not a bad story in here, unlike many anthologies I have read. Definitely expanded my to be read list.

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