Monday, September 23, 2013

Four Summoner's Tales by Kelly Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry

One prompt, four authors, four very different stories. This is the concept behind Four Summoner's Tales a collection of novellas featuring Kelly Armstrong, Christopher Golden, David Liss, and Jonathan Maberry. According to the intro, Golden and Maberry conceived of the idea over dinner one evening. Their prompt was just one sentence: A strange visitor comes to town, offering to raise the townsfolk's dearly departed from the dead - for a price. With that in mind, they chose two additional authors and all set out to create their own tales.

In Armstrong's "Suffer the Children" a town devastated by a diphtheria outbreak welcomes a man who claims to be able to raise their children from the dead. But of course it comes at a price. Addie and her foster family are certain that this is no miracle and must discover the truth before the town is too far gone.

Golden's "Pipers" a small Texas town has seen unimaginable tragedy: over twenty people gunned down in an increasingly escalating war with a Mexican drug cartel. Enoch has come to offer them a new option. He can bring back their dead, and with their help, bring down the cartel. 

In Liss's "A Bad Season for Necromancy" In eighteenth-century England, a man has a plan to get out from under his father's thumb. He kills his father, steals his little bit of money, and moves to the city where he now calls himself January. Here is plans to find a wealthy wife and leave his past behind. But his ghosts aren't so happy to be left behind and his plan is ruinously revealed. When he discovers a book that will allow him to raise the dead, he thinks that surely all his problems will disappear. He's greatly mistaken. His troubles have only just begun.

And finally Maberry's "Alive Day" features Captain Joe Ledger on a mission to recover a lost team of soldiers in Afghanistan. The team, codenamed Rattlesnake, went dark while attempting to stop a group of drug traffickers said to be moving more than just opium. Rattlesnake ended up running into something much worse than terrorists, but it isn't until his own team arrives to investigate that Ledger begins to understand. 

Each of these four stories is obvious very different from the others. Not only is it a great collection, but it's a wonderful example of how even one core concept can bring about in quite different results.

Rating: 4/5


Jennifer | Book Den said...

Ooh, that sounds really good! I love the prompt, and I love having four different takes on it. :)

Becky LeJeune said...

Yes! The whole thing was fantastic and I was glad they included the inro on how the collection came about. I love that kind of stuff.