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Warriors by George R. R. Martin


by George R. R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor)

Other authors: David Ball (Contributor), Peter S. Beagle (Contributor), Lawrence Block (Contributor), Gardner Dozois (Contributor), Diana Gabaldon (Contributor)16 more, Joe Haldeman (Contributor), Robin Hobb (Contributor), Cecelia Holland (Contributor), Joe R. Lansdale (Contributor), George R. R. Martin (Contributor), George R. R. Martin (Introduction), David Morrell (Contributor), Naomi Novik (Contributor), James Rollins (Contributor), Steven Saylor (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Contributor), S. M. Stirling (Contributor), Carrie Vaughn (Contributor), Howard Waldrop (Contributor), David Weber (Contributor), Tad Williams (Contributor)

Series: Egg & Dunk (Short story: "The Mystery Knight", prologue), Lord John ("Custom of the Army", 2.2), A Song of Ice and Fire (Short story: "The Mystery Knight", prequel 3)

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This is one of the better short story collections I've read lately. It does not measure up to Legends or Legends 2, despite the long list of accomplished contributors. Unfortunately, the editors took liberties with the subject of 'Warriors', and judging from the introduction, they did so deliberately. However, that leaves a collection that is only loosely associated with the title and purpose of the anthology, so what exactly is the purpose? I understand the idea that this was intended to be cross-genre and it accomplished that, but I would have preferred if it was more on topic. I am not usually a big fan of random collections of short stories, though I will admit this is for the most part, a good one.

Some highlights and lowlights:
"The King of Norway" by Cecilia Holland - a realistic historical fiction story about Viking warriors. A great way to kick off the anthology.
"Forever Bound" by Joe Haldeman - its hard to go wrong with a Haldeman story, and this isn't an exception.
"Clean Slate" by Lawrence Block - this one I didn't think belonged at all. A female serial killer story?
"Dirae" by Peter S. Beagle - not really a warrior story, more of a comic book hero type story with a twist, but excellent.
"The Eagle and the Rabbit" by Steven Saylor - not really a warrior story, and the 2nd story about Carthage in the collection (??), but good.
"The Pit" by James Rollins - pit fighting dogs. Completely unnecessary.
'Out of the Dark" by David Weber - humans kick alien butt, with a twist. Great stuff.

The last 5 stories are all excellent. "The Mystery Knight" by Martin is maybe the best. I think fans of historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy will find this collection good to excellent. ( )
  Karlstar | Nov 12, 2013 |
And lastly, read again for George R. R. Martin's "Tales of Egg and Dunk."

God. He truly makes me fall in love with characters. Truly how much I like Dunk may never change, but I can see how much of this story is the shaping of both Dunk and Egg. How much it will shape the history and the kingdom of the future from this point (and the past from the time of The Song of Fire & Ice).

I really felt this one though. The way the Eye is. How The Great War of the Two Dragon's literally effects everything, in a way Dunk gets but Egg doesn't yet. The way a great king can be made of a eleven-year-old boy with too much pride, who will be the only person in his family to truly know his people and his land.

I really do hope the rumor that there will be eight or nine stories of these to is true.

I will look forward to this. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Jul 24, 2013 |
It's rare for me to finish an anthology and be unable to decide which is my favorite, unable to point out the handful of weak stories. This collection was so strong that I don't think any of the twenty stories fell into the latter category, and I would be hard pressed to choose one for the former.

I enjoyed how many different types of warriors the collection presented, likely and unlikely, stereotypical and anything-but. My biggest criticism is that many of the stories left me wanting more, longing for the next part of the story of that extra bit of depth. But like a meal with twenty small courses, I soon found my attention distracted by the next morsel. Saving the novella-length GRRM story for the end was a wise move, because that tale satisfied my appetite and left me content. ( )
  shabacus | Jun 10, 2013 |
The book as a whole is a good, solid 4.5 star anthology. As with most collections, it has its hits and misses. Happily, more of the latter.

"Stories From the Spinner Rack" - introduction by GRRM. A nice look into the early reading habits of GRRM and his early influences. Reminds me of Dreamsongs I. I need to go back and read Dreamsongs II. 4 stars for the intro.

"The King of Norway" by Cecilia Holland. Nice Viking story that was pretty interesting. The characters seemed pretty good too, or would have with more development. Her style is dry though. If she'd liven that up, I'd be more interested in what happens. 2.75 stars.

"Forever Bound" by Joe Haldeman. Set in the Forever War universe, which I haven't read. But I loved this story, so I'm sure I'll rectify that eventually. His writing is excellent and his universe seems very interesting. 4.5 stars.

"The Triumph" by Robin Hobb. Another top notch story, by the dependable Hobb. It's different for her, as it's a historical piece about Romans in Carthage, but her writing is very good and the story has some cool twists. 4 stars.

"Clean Slate" by Lawrence Block. Another winner. This is the second Block story I’ve read from anthologies this year, and as with the first one, I was very impressed. I love his twisted protagonist villains. An intriguing modern thriller, I’m not sure it really fits the theme of the anthology except in the literal sense. The main character thinks of herself as a “warrior” though that’s more of a psychological tag than a real one. Still, a very good story and one of the better ones so far. 4.75 stars.

“And Ministers of Grace” by Tad Williams. Tad always delivers interesting short stories, and this is no exception. The main character here is a holy assassin in a future universe where there is a war between those of the Book and those that are not. A nice take on the future of religion and colonization. 3.5 stars.

“Soldierin’” by Joe R. Lansdale. This is an engaging and often humorous look at the military service of a former slave recruited to join the Union Army in a post-Civil War area of West Texas. He is placed in an all-black regiment and this tells what happens when they come across some pissed off Indians. 3.75 stars.

“Dirae” by Peter S. Beagle. Weird is how I describe this. It does start to make sense as it gets going but it takes awhile. A very cool concept that’s odd in execution and probably would have worked better in a novel. 3 stars.

“The Custom of the Army” by Diana Gabaldon. Novella length story that’s one of the better ones so far. This is an adventure of Lord John Grey, from her Outlander universe. The story is very engaging as we see Lord John’s experiences first in London, and then in Canada as he’s assigned up there. He’s called to look into the situation of an old friend’s impending court-martial. I really enjoyed this one, but felt a bit let down by the end as everything seemed to wrap up too quickly and conveniently. This is another one that would have worked better as a longer novel. Still, 4.25 stars.

“Seven Years From Home” by Naomi Novik. I’ve never tried this author before, though I’ve heard about her stuff for a few years now. Well, this will probably keep me from trying her novels. This story pretty much sucked. Here we have a future colonization going on with a feud between two factions on a world that the “Confederacy” is looking to bring into its fold. The narrator character gets drawn into this conflict and this story serves as her account/confession of what transpired. The concept was intriguing but the execution was not. The narration was dry and unspirited. I kept fighting sleep and forced myself to finish this one. It was a struggle from the first page to the end. I’ll give it 1.5 stars though. It really should have 1 star, but I’ll be generous and give it another half because the concept was cool enough to consider that. 1.5 stars.

“The Eagle and the Rabbit” by Steven Saylor. Once again we visit ancient Carthage, though many years later than Hobb’s story. This time, we see a slice of history through the eyes of a Carthaginian as he deals with the conquering Romans. It’s a great mirror image of Hobb’s story, showing that in war there is often brutality regardless to what side you’re on. Some of the plot turns were predictable, but no less entertaining for that. It had very nice progression and a satisfying ending, and what more can you hope for from a short story? 4.5 stars.

“The Pit” by James Rollins. Wow. Here we get a gladiator story, but not one we’d expect to find in an anthology like this, or anywhere for that matter. There are twists and turns in this story as well, and they’re not nearly as predictable. This is the best story in the bunch, so far. I could give more details, but that would spoil the reader’s delight as they read a few lines and discover what it’s really about. 5 stars.

“Out of the Dark” by David Weber. Here we have a near-future alien invasion, with some really unexpected twists. I like the concept and I love the scope that Weber approaches this from. I’ve seen that there is now a novel-length expansion of this story. I think that would work nicely, as this has huge potential for more in-depth global coverage. I’m undecided on reading it soon though, as the core of the story was pretty much played out in this novella. Still, one for the TBR. 4.5 stars.

“The Girls From Avenger” by Carrie Vaughn. Carrie tells a story about the WASP pilots during World War II. WASP stands for Women Airforce Service Pilots. These women filled the flying jobs required by the army in the US while the men were overseas in combat operations. They weren’t highly regarded at all, and that’s a shame. Carrie shines some light on what they might have gone through in this story, and I’m glad she did. I always love Carrie’s smooth and reader-friendly writing style and this is no exception. 4.25 stars.

“Ancient Ways” by S.M. Stirling. This was my first experience in reading of Stirling’s Emberverse, though I’ve been eying it for awhile now. This story pushes Dies the Fire, the first novel of the Change, up on my TBR. This was an intriguing look at a future post-apocalyptic Earth, where technology has been stripped away and society is back to the basics. Stirling’s take on that theme seems very original in execution and world building, if this story is any indication. 4.25 stars.

“Ninieslando” by Howard Waldrop. Here’s a weird little story set during World War I, right at the front lines between the British and German forces. There is the ominous No-Man’s Land that separates the trenches where the two armies are entrenched, a kill-zone full of barbed wire and landmines. Of course, there’s something quite unexpected and strange down in there as well. Enjoyable, but too short to fully develop and a little on the implausible side. 2.5 stars.

“Recidivist” by Gardner Dozois. This is the first solo work I’ve read by Dozois. Wow! This one was too short. By that I mean, I wanted more. The story itself was a good length for what it had to tell, but this future post-weird-shit-happens world is amazing. I would love to read a novel about this, and Dozois’s prose is very smooth. Definitely wanting a novel expansion to this one. 4.75 stars.

“I Am Legion” by David Morrell. Here is a story of the French Foreign Legion during the early days of World War II. The premise is good, though the plot is quite predictable. There is a lot of buildup to a climax that you can see coming from a mile away. The execution was ok, but not the most exciting of this collection by any means. 2.5 stars.

“Defenders of the Frontier” by Robert Silverberg. This is almost a “Wow!” story along the lines of the Dozois or Stirling ones, and would be if it wasn’t so dreary. The setting is slightly similar. What I like about this one is the premise. The military saying of “hurry up and wait” is pretty literal here, when the waiting just keeps going on. But with everything, eventually something does change. 4 stars.

“The Scroll” by David Ball. This was a deliciously sinister story, set in 15th century Morocco. What happens when an engineer of war machines gets captured by the Moors and brought to the Emperor’s slave work gangs? It gets interesting when he catches the Emperors attention. 4.5 stars.

“The Mystery Knight” by George R.R. Martin. A return to the land of the Seven Kingdoms, in the form of a Dunk & Egg story. The third novella in the Hedge Knight series, this was a great read. It was so good to get back to Westeros and see a tournament, along with the usual GRRM underhanded behind the scenes plotting. 5 stars.
( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
I always feel pretty safe in the editorial hands of Gardner Dozois, and Warriors justified that feeling. It's a solid, cross-genre collection of stories (some ranging towards novella length) by notable authors working to their own strengths. The "warrior" theme, while stretched a bit in places, is flexible enough to encompass quite a range of themes, and they ranged in my opinion from sturdy to really excellent. Nice to see some non-dragon-related work by Naomi Novik, a bit of hard scifi from Tad Williams, a fun steppes adventure from S.M. Stirling, and of course a welcome Dunk and Egg tale from Mr. Martin himself. Good stuff all the way around. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dozois, GardnerEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ball, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, LawrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dozois, GardnerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gabaldon, DianaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hobb, RobinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holland, CeceliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lansdale, Joe R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R. R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R. R.Introductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrell, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Novik, NaomiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rollins, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saylor, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stirling, S. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, CarrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waldrop, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weber, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TadContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This major collection of never-before-published tales of war and warriors features some of today's most popular writers of fantasy, including Robin Hobb, James Rollins, and Tad Williams.

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