Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Celebration Of Lammas Night - Mercedes Lackey and Josepha Sherman

In Celebration of Lammas Night Created By Mercedes Lackey
Editor Josepha Sherman
Baen Books
Copyright Date: 1996

The back cover blurb:
The hour of choosing is at hand...

In "Lammas Night" a young weaver of spells is persuaded to bide a while in a small village, to make their village spells and keep the Dark at bay. As part of their persuasion, the villagers have given her the house of her predecessor. Not knowing that his spirit lingers there, she unwittingly breaks the spell that laid him. Now, a half-seen phantom courts her. He is either her lover for all time, the only one she will ever know - or a wicked spirits' seeming, the aim of which is to entrap her in a fate unspeakable.

Will she call him to her or banish him forever? Now is the time of choosing, the Witching on Lammas Night. Magic Dark and Light are in perfect balance. She begins the casting of her spell...

If you're a fan of Mercedes Lackey or Andre Norton you'll find that In Celebration of Lammas Night is filled with familiar names: Ellen Guon co-wrote the books of Bedlam's Bard with Mercedes Lackey. Josepha Sherman, the editor of this book, worked with her on A Cast Of Corbies. Holly Lisle co-wrote When The Bough Breaks, one of the Serrated Edge series, and also worked with Marion Zimmer Bradley. Susan Shwartz has written with Andre Norton in the past. The list goes on. It's full of authors I recognized: S. M. Stirling and Jody Lynn Nye are two other well known authors who have stories in this anthology.

As explained in the introduction, all of the stories in this volume were written to answer the question left to the listener in Mercedes Lackey's song of the same title. Despite the similarity in plotlines thus required, a number of the stories are quite original.

I particularly liked Diana L. Paxon's Lady of the Rock, which is set in the (moderately) modern "real" world, and has some interesting twists. Also Susan Shwartz's story A Choice Of Dawns, which was set in a more standard "fantasy" world. Yes, some of the stories do seem fairly stereotyped, but they're definitely still good reads.

Many of the stories have a 'feel' that I have trouble describing. I think it's the use of some of the terminology, such as Lammas Night, itself. It's "mandated" by the setting of the stories and the original song, but the terms, I think bring a certain set of expectations to the table, and some of the stories didn't quite work with it.

Anyway, this is a book I read for the Clear Off Your Shelves challenge.


S. Krishna said...

I've heard good things about Mercedes Lackey, but never read any of her stuff. I probably won't start with this one, though it might help that I didn't have any expectations going in.

Unknown said...

Mercedes Lackey is one of my favorite authors. If you're going to read her, the Valdemar books are a good place to start, I think. Good introductions to that series include: Arrows of the Queen (first book in the Heralds of Valdemar series), the Tarma and Kethry books (Oathbound and Oathbreakers).


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