Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley
The back cover blurb:
Spells Cast And Swords CrossedWell, the back blurb is definitely over the top in its descriptions, but there are some really good stories in this volume nonetheless. My favorites have to be Wings of Fire by Mercedes Lackey and Geese by Laurell K. Hamilton.
As the forces of evil reach out to conquer new realms, claiming the lives and treasures of unprotected innocents, there are always a valiant few ready to oppose these masters of darkness and destruction. Bold women warriors, wise women, sorceresses wielding the powers of light - all are ready to aid those in need with no thought to the perils they themselves will face.
Let some of today's finest fantasy writers - Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Roberson, Diana Paxson, and their fellow visionaries - carry you off to the enchanted lands where stalwart heroines pit their skills against such terrors as: an ancient dragon that has long held a kingom hostage to its terrible hunger... a stealer of magics who seeks to drain the power from all who cross her path... a mortal so caught in evil's thrall that not even his own family is safe from harm... and all the other enemies that only those long-trained to battle with sword and spell can hope to overcome...
I always forget that Laurell K. Hamilton has written fantasy outside of her Merry Gentry and Anita Blake series, but Geese serves as a good reminder of that fact, and it was an amazing story.
Wings Of Fire is a story I've read at least a couple of times now. I think I may have read some of the stories from this anthology before, aside from this one (also available in Oathblood, where Mercedes Lackey has gathered together all of the Tarma and Kethry stories she wrote for the Sword and Sorceress series of anthologies).
The one other story that seemed familiar enough to make me wonder if I read Sword and Sorceress VII a while back was Marayd's Escape. Not completely familiar - I couldn't remember the story, just some of the plot points - but familiar nonetheless.
Also neat for fans of some of the books Mercedes Lackey has co-written is that there is a story in this anthology from Eluki bes Shahar, who has written books under the name Rosemary Edghill. A name that's familiar from the more recent books in the world of the SERRAted Edge series. Unfortunately I have to admit that the titles of those books escape me for the moment.
Overall, this is a volume that's full of moments of humor - even in the various author biography notes at the beginning of the stories.