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A Handful of Coppers: Collected Early Stories, Heroic Fantasy

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Contents: Aynber “The Fair, the Foul & the Foolish” “Wizard's Bounty” “Stormraven” “The Valley of the Troll” “The Road to Jarawen” (unpublished) “A Handful of Coppers” (unpublished) Colum mac Donal “Night of the Valkings” “The Ring of Brodgar” “The Iron Stone” “The Fair in Emain Macha” Damon “Damon: A Prologue” (unpublished) “Wings Over Antar” “Dark God Laughing” (unpublished) Liavek “The R Contents: Aynber “The Fair, the Foul & the Foolish” “Wizard's Bounty” “Stormraven” “The Valley of the Troll” “The Road to Jarawen” (unpublished) “A Handful of Coppers” (unpublished) Colum mac Donal “Night of the Valkings” “The Ring of Brodgar” “The Iron Stone” “The Fair in Emain Macha” Damon “Damon: A Prologue” (unpublished) “Wings Over Antar” “Dark God Laughing” (unpublished) Liavek “The Rat's Alley Shuffle” “The Skin & Knife Game” (collaboration with Lee Barwood)


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Contents: Aynber “The Fair, the Foul & the Foolish” “Wizard's Bounty” “Stormraven” “The Valley of the Troll” “The Road to Jarawen” (unpublished) “A Handful of Coppers” (unpublished) Colum mac Donal “Night of the Valkings” “The Ring of Brodgar” “The Iron Stone” “The Fair in Emain Macha” Damon “Damon: A Prologue” (unpublished) “Wings Over Antar” “Dark God Laughing” (unpublished) Liavek “The R Contents: Aynber “The Fair, the Foul & the Foolish” “Wizard's Bounty” “Stormraven” “The Valley of the Troll” “The Road to Jarawen” (unpublished) “A Handful of Coppers” (unpublished) Colum mac Donal “Night of the Valkings” “The Ring of Brodgar” “The Iron Stone” “The Fair in Emain Macha” Damon “Damon: A Prologue” (unpublished) “Wings Over Antar” “Dark God Laughing” (unpublished) Liavek “The Rat's Alley Shuffle” “The Skin & Knife Game” (collaboration with Lee Barwood)

30 review for A Handful of Coppers: Collected Early Stories, Heroic Fantasy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Charles de Lint is a favorite author of mine, so when I read a review of this book, the first of a two-volume set of his early work (written, in this case, from 1979-1986), and supplemented by a few stories newly written for this collection, I was immediately intrigued. As my rating indicates, I wasn't disappointed! Though he was later to make his name primarily in the area of urban fantasy, these 15 stories all fall into the realm of what he calls "heroic fantasy" --basically the "sword-and- so Charles de Lint is a favorite author of mine, so when I read a review of this book, the first of a two-volume set of his early work (written, in this case, from 1979-1986), and supplemented by a few stories newly written for this collection, I was immediately intrigued. As my rating indicates, I wasn't disappointed! Though he was later to make his name primarily in the area of urban fantasy, these 15 stories all fall into the realm of what he calls "heroic fantasy" --basically the "sword-and- sorcery" sub-genre. Of the 11 stories here that actually do date from the early 80s and before, most originally appeared in small-circulation magazines and attracted little critical notice, and the author's introduction is self-deprecating as to their quality. His concern on this score, though, is too modest; I found all of these tales to be just as well-written as his later works, and honestly couldn't tell, without a look at the copyright notices page, which were newly written. (Of course, de Lint did do a stylistic editing of the older works, to remove "a few of the many adverbs and exclamation marks...[and:] some of the clumsy dialogue attributions;" that probably helped considerably to remove any original journeyman awkwardness. :-)) The stories fall into four sections, grouped by their main character. Six feature lady bounty hunter Aynber, sometimes nicknamed the Huntress, and her sidekick, wizard Thorn Hawkwood (the two are business partners, but not romantically involved). I'd already read one of these stories, "The Valley of the Troll," in the first Sword and Sorceress collection edited by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, so was already acquainted with Aynber (and with her lethal abilities with elven-made lessen-yaln, razor-sharp throwing disks, which in her hands can be quite deadly). Four linked stories follow Colum mac Donal, a brave young warrior (contemporary with King Arthur) in Ireland --or perhaps an alternate Ireland, since some of his people have settled in America. (Though there was a tradition in our world that Holy Brendan, on one of his westward voyages, reached America.) The darkest of de Lint's protagonists here, Damon, is the subject of three stories --actually two, with a prologue that tells of his origins: born of the rape of an elf maiden by a demon, he bound himself to serve the dark gods of his world in return for superhuman strength to avenge the slaughter of his mother's people. His vengeance completed, he tried to renege on the deal, so was stripped of his conscious memory and held prisoner for 200 years inside a standing stone. Finally, the last two stories are grouped in a section called "Liavek," but the protagonist is actually female minstrel Saffer, one of the more honorable (and more clever and gutsy) inhabitants of the Rat's Alley district in the city of Liavek. Residents of Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork would likely feel pretty much at home in Liavek; it was actually a setting created by Will Shetterly and Emma Bull, but shared by a number of writers who contributed to two Liavek anthologies. (One of these stories was co- written with de Lint's friend, Lee Barwood.) Where religion operates at all in these stories, it's of a pagan, and often dark, variety. As is characteristic of the sub-genre, the plots tend to be violent in places, a fact that somewhat embarrassed the now older de Lint. But there's relatively little bad language, and no explicit sex. (The only implication of casual sex at all is at the very beginning of the first story, "The Fair, the Foul, and the Foolish," when Hawkwood rousts Aynber out of a bed where she's asleep with an unnamed young man, but the positioning of that incident creates the impression that she's more promiscuous than she actually proves to be; her usual behavior elsewhere is to rebuff improper advances.) All of the stories are exciting and genuinely fun to read; the protagonists are likable (or at least engage your sympathy); the settings are developed enough to seem real, though there's not a lot of detailed world building; the plotting and writing is often emotionally compelling; and most importantly, de Lint writes from a moral grounding that often calls on his characters to make good ethical choices. All in all, I'd highly recommend this book to fans of this sort of fantasy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    7/8 -7/20/2008 "The Fair, the Foul and the Foolish" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Wizard's Bounty" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Night of the Valkings" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Damon: A Prologue" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Wings Over Antar" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Stormraven" RE-READ 6/4/2015 "The Ring of Brodgar" RE-READ 6/5/2015 "The Iron Stone" RE-READ 6/5/2015 "The Valley of the Troll" read 5/3/1998 Re-read 6/15/2015 "The Fair in Emain Macha" Re-read 6/20/2015 "The Rat's Alley Shuffle" RE-read 6/22/2015 "The Skin and Knife Game" RE-read 7/10/ 7/8 -7/20/2008 "The Fair, the Foul and the Foolish" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Wizard's Bounty" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Night of the Valkings" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Damon: A Prologue" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Wings Over Antar" RE-READ 5/29/2015 "Stormraven" RE-READ 6/4/2015 "The Ring of Brodgar" RE-READ 6/5/2015 "The Iron Stone" RE-READ 6/5/2015 "The Valley of the Troll" read 5/3/1998 Re-read 6/15/2015 "The Fair in Emain Macha" Re-read 6/20/2015 "The Rat's Alley Shuffle" RE-read 6/22/2015 "The Skin and Knife Game" RE-read 7/10/2015

  3. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This is the first volume of early released short stories by Charles de Lint. These short stories are when he was first beginning to be a writer, and a few of these have never been published before. de Lint writes urban fantasy; in fact, he helped create the genre. But these stories are when he was still writing classic fantasy stories, with druids, wizards, and such. None of these stories are anywhere near the level of writing that de Lint developed later in his career, but they are still intere This is the first volume of early released short stories by Charles de Lint. These short stories are when he was first beginning to be a writer, and a few of these have never been published before. de Lint writes urban fantasy; in fact, he helped create the genre. But these stories are when he was still writing classic fantasy stories, with druids, wizards, and such. None of these stories are anywhere near the level of writing that de Lint developed later in his career, but they are still interesting and fun to read. The first part is six stories about the female warrior Aynber. And these were the worst of the bunch, you can tell de Lint is still a kid when writing these stories. The next section tells a complete tale in four stories, where one is a full length novella, about Colum mac Donal. This was a fun and interesting set of stories, and were of the best quality in this book. The last two sections are really just two stories each of Damon, a demon warrior in the vein of Elric by Michael Moorcock, and Liavek, a Bard. Damon is interesting because it is about a dark hero. I like it when de Lint gets dark in his writing. And Liavek is the first instance where de Lint mixes music within his stories, so that is interesting in itself because he uses it a lot in his later works. Overall this is really only for a hard core de Lint fan, as the writing isn't great. As these are his first works as a writer. But for a de Lint fan, like myself, this was a great opportunity to read his early works that have never made it into book form before. It's a invaluable part of my de Lint collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    TheRealMelbelle

    Even fans of Charles de Lint and the author himself will acknowledge that de Lint was "not done yet." (as in not fully formed....enthusiastic but not so skilled a writer as he later has become. These are his first works and those who love him can read these with affection and see the seeds of greatness which sprouted in later books as he developed a whole new genre of urban fantasy. My favorites so far are Onion Girl and Blue Girl! Even fans of Charles de Lint and the author himself will acknowledge that de Lint was "not done yet." (as in not fully formed....enthusiastic but not so skilled a writer as he later has become. These are his first works and those who love him can read these with affection and see the seeds of greatness which sprouted in later books as he developed a whole new genre of urban fantasy. My favorites so far are Onion Girl and Blue Girl!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    I tried, but made it about three and a half stories in before giving up. If you like Ren-faire speech, you'll love these stories, but I found them really overwritten and with stories not intriguing enough to get past the "long gold tresses" and "shining swords". I am very glad de Lint has grown as an author. I tried, but made it about three and a half stories in before giving up. If you like Ren-faire speech, you'll love these stories, but I found them really overwritten and with stories not intriguing enough to get past the "long gold tresses" and "shining swords". I am very glad de Lint has grown as an author.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    Heroic fantasy Four different character collections: 1. Aynber, a female bounty hunter with a cutting skillset 2. Column mac Donal, last member of a slaughtered clan of Aerin 3. Damon the Demon 4. Liavek, the adventures of Saffer the musician

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gwendolyn

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles E.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hisle

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan Tiss

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Dreptate

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trista Weir

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bronwen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Simpson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Malicke

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Pence

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karl

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kymbr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nik Hawkins

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

  27. 4 out of 5

    glitrbug

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susie Steadman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angelo Baca

  30. 4 out of 5

    Grey Walker

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