Review: Tales of the Nun & Dragon / Author: Various / Publisher: Fox Spirit / Release Date: Out Now
Tales of the Nun & Dragon (no jokes as to which is scarier) lives to up to its title, in that dragons and nuns do indeed feature heavily in this finely-spun collection of new and experienced talent.
The anthology kicks off with The Ballad of Gillrain, featuring one put-upon knight, his manservant and dragon – and the sharp sense of humour of Sarah Cawkwell, who has been making a name for herself in genre circles recently. Those familiar with her work will recognise the author’s twisted wit and it’s a splendid way to start the collection.
Other highlights include The Killing of Sister George by Pat Kelleher. Those of you who’ve read the No Man’s World series might expect something dark and demented, and this short, sharp tale delivers the right amount of both. Simon Bestwick’s Lex Draconis serves up a dreamlike and haunting take on the theme, whilst Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Saint George and Saint Giles also hits the spot, cramming mystery and intrigue into a very small space. The collection ends with Karen Davies' The Last Hunt, a short and abrupt tale fizzing by at an action-packed pace with a great deal of vitriol and profanity. Davies is very adept at packing large worlds into a few pages, and this makes an appropriate end piece for a great anthology.
In total, they are 23 stories to play with here, and very few clunkers (though they are one or two). Many of these are extremely brief, and this makes it perfect for popping onto your e-reader and whiling away boring moments. Those on the lookout for the next big thing could do with picking up Tales of the Nun & Dragon; it’s a solid fantasy anthology which has been very well edited and thoughtfully compiled. The stories follow on nicely from each other, making for a smooth read despite multiple voices. Worth a look.