Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery - Tanith Lee, Garth Nix, Robert Silverberg, Bill Willingham, C.J. Cherryh, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Gene Wolfe, Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Michael Moorcock, Tim Lebbon, Jonathan Strahan, Steven Erikson, Michael   Shea, Lou Anders, Scott Lynch, K.J. Parker, Joe Abercrombie, James Enge Overall a very solid anthology. Only two stories would I consider not worth my time - Silverberg's "Dark Times at the Midnight Market" and Willingham's "Thieves of Daring" - and some were very good.

"Goats of Glory," Steven Erikson. I'm an Erikson groupie so he'd have to stumble pretty badly to get a bad review from me. The story revolves around the moral compromises a village makes to survive, and the demon-fighting skills of Captain Skint and her company. Nothing profound but an entertaining story.

"Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company," Glen Cook. This is probably some of Cook's best writing I've seen since the "final" book of The Black Company (Soldiers Live). In those books, Croaker periodically mentions that he glosses over the less savory activities of the Company, activities that would get them hauled before the International Criminal Court if committed here. This is a tale of one of those activities, and it's disturbing and distressing to those of us who like and respect Croaker and his companions.

"Bloodsport," Gene Wolfe. Not bad. It's the usual Wolfe story where you have to read it several times to figure out exactly what's happening (and even then... :-)

"The Singing Spear," James Enge. I'm not familiar with this author but the story was decent, with an interesting twist regarding the spear of the title.

"A Wizard of Wiscezan," C.J. Cherryh. This is another good piece of writing from an author whose last few novels have disappointed. It turns on a young wizard learning to trust himself and it satisfies.

"A Rich Full Week," K.J. Parker. I tried reading Parker's Engineer trilogy without success so I wasn't really expecting much from this story. Which isn't to say I didn't like it; I'm not, however, rushing out to pick up more of the author's work.

"A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet," Garth Nix. Not memorable but enjoyable enough while reading.

"Red Pearls: An Elric Story," Michael Moorcock. I haven't been keeping up with the Elric saga since Stormbringer largely because it was becoming to "meta" for my tastes, despite the fact that Moorcock's depiction of the eternal struggle between Law and Chaos was becoming more nuanced. However, this is a good episode from the doomed Melnibonean's life.

"The Deification of Dal Bamore: A Tale from Echo City," Tim Lebbon. Interesting tale about the conflict between a dominant religion and some "heretics." Neither side is particularly attractive.

"Dark Times at the Midnight Market," Robert Silverberg. I took a dislike to Majipoor Chronicles when I was a teen, and my distaste for Silverberg continues. This is a tired old story about love potions and their dangers whose ending was visible before the first paragraph ended.

"The Undefiled," Greg Keyes. I don't enjoy reading about Keyes' Fool Wolf character so this story wasn't particularly enjoyable to read in that respect but otherwise, it's a decent tale.

"Hew the Tintmaster," Michael Shea. If this is an "official" Cugel the Cudgel story then the only advice I can give Mr. Shea is don't try to be Jack Vance and leave the Dying Earth in peace. The tale itself is not bad if not memorable but it's most definitely NOT Vance (or even really Vancian in flavor).

"In the Stacks," Scott Lynch. For whatever reason the whole Locke Lamora craze has not afflicted me and, after reading this tale, I remain uninfected. Again, the story isn't badly written or unentertaining but it didn't impress me.

"Two Lions, a Witch, and the War-Robe," Tanith Lee. Lee is a wonderful writer and this is another example of her talents. Despite the title, there's more Jack Vance than C.S. Lewis about the tale of two maybe half-brothers and a cursed prince (certainly more Vance here than in Shea's story). A good collection solely of Lee's stories is Red as Blood.

"The Sea Troll's Daughter," Caitlin R. Kiernan. Kiernan is another author I count mysef a groupie of so expect little objectivity here. I liked the story. Not least because it reminded me of a fairy tale I wrote for my nieces a few Christmases ago (which you can read on GR here).

"Thieves of Daring," Bill Willingham. This story just really annoyed me.

"The Fool Jobs," Joe Abercrombie. With qualifications, I liked Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy so I expected to and wasn't disappointed in liking this tale. Another example of a good if not long-term memorable story.