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Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, edited by G.W. Thomas Book Review | SFReader.com
Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, edited by G.W. Thomas Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Ragemachine Books Published: 2005 Review Posted: 6/18/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10
Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, edited by G.W. Thomas
Book Review by David A. Olson
Have you read this book?
Long ago, the Thieves' World collected together some of the world's
best fantasy authors to write in a shared universe. As is the natural
consequence of one success, a lot of lesser knockoffs appeared, eventually
killing the market for shared worlds.
Then came the internet--a noble place where people could share information
freely. It was there that G.W. Thomas met with others to create a new shared
The first collection they produced, Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer
contains fourteen stories and is printed by Lulu, which is a POD (Publish On
Demand). I was leery of this at first, but enjoyed reading one of the
authors in the collection, so I laid down my money to buy the book.
I was surprised at the quality of stories in this collection (not to mention
the atmospheric artwork of Mats Minnhagen which is scattered throughout).
These are not simple magic tales of wizards shooting fireballs at each
other, although the spell casters do fight in many of the stories. They
ponder questions like how far would an apprentice go to become a Master, or
what would an Ice Goddess want?
Despite numerous typos and many of the stories having slow openings, I
enjoyed this collection and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read
The stories are listed here starting with the ones I liked best and working
"The Metal Mages" by Robert Burke Richardson: A boy follows a girl who was
sacrificed up a mountain to save her from the metal mages.
Two shocking surprises await the reader at the conclusion of this short,
gripping tale. I hope that this story's plot line is followed up on in the
future books planned for this anthology. Could make for some exciting
"Bring me Three Severed Heads" by Lawrence Barker: Four apprentice death
mages are tasked by their dead master to kill each other.
Although it had some problems, the mind-boggling conclusion really sets the
tone for the collection.
"Storm Warning" by Lillian Csernica: A water mage seeks revenge on the air
mage who killed her sister's children.
The ending to this story is as twisted as "Bring Me Three Severed Heads,"
but in a very different way.
"In This Sleep of Death" by Robert J. Santa: A dream mage is saved by a fire
mage, but doesn't thank him, causing a hatred between them.
The greatest strength of this story was its characters, especially the dream
mage who acted laugh out loud funny several times. The ending was a bit
unexpected, and I'm still not sure exactly what happened.
"The Soul of the Ice" by Jack Hillman: A young boy strangely survives a
mile-wide avalanche, and later leads a noble up the mountain on a hunting
expedition to kill something worthy of his position.
This story is filled with wonderful prose that is fun to read aloud, and
although the protagonist overcomes no great obstacles, it is a nice
exploration of desire.
"The Glass Elephant's Prison" by Ben Peek: Two cursed men try to regain
A few threads still hang loose at the conclusion, but I found the tale
"In Beneath the Black Ice" by Joshua Reynolds: A death, metal, and ice mage
fight in this tale. As if that weren't enough, a horrifying demon appears.
I loved it until the end where I felt everything was wrapped up to quickly.
"The Chronicles of Helmar and Jukka: The Loremaster's Warning" by Robert
Bee: A story that is reminiscent of Norse legends that follows an apprentice
as he tries to help his master prevent giants from returning to the world.
Although I didn't find the surprise at the end of this story surprising, I
enjoyed the tale because the characters were interesting and easy to
"The Singer and the Song" by Jack Mackenzie: A man, who can sing with such
perfection that it can cause a heart to stop, knows who he loves, and that
she belongs to another.
I thought this story was disjointed until the last third which pulled
everything together in a powerful way.
"The Princess Beneath the Sand" by K. A. Patterson, the editor of Alienskin:
A young woman searches the desert for an moving oasis that will grant her a
wish to save her city from a threatening army.
Karen sets the desert scene well, perhaps too well since the story takes a
while to start. The ending was a bit of a surprise, although all the details
were there if I'd just put them together.
"Mage Fire by the editor, G. W. Thomas: A army of death mage and their
creatures attack a group of forest mages to expand their swamp.
There seems to be a strong similarity between the death mages and the forest
mages, in that they both effectively give their people no free will: One
group having zombies and the other controlling the emotions of the living.
However the ending of this story doesn't capitalize on this and instead goes
with feel good ending.
"Heartwood Oakenlife" by Andrew C. Ferguson: A woman melds with a tree to
escape from being murdered by soldiers.
The unique point of view in this story was refreshing, but it made the
protagonist hard to relate to.
"Swords in the Waves: A Tale of Dog Company" by Christopher Sloan: A group
of mage hunters hunt for a particularly capable wizard.
This is a classic sword and sorcery tale which I felt made no attempts to
escape it genre.
"Seedlings" by Joy V. Smith: Forest mages fend off an attack by some evil
old man (I never understood exactly who they were fighting).
Sadly, numerous jumps in time and the complicated setting made this story
hard to follow. By the end, I didn't identify with any character enough to
care whether they lived or died.
Click here to buy Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, edited by G.W. Thomas on Amazon