Echoes of Valor III by Karl Edward Wagner
rating: 5 of 5 stars
The late Karl Edward Wagner edited three Echoes of Valor anthologies for TOR fantasy books. Volume III was published in 1991 and unfortunately was the last in the series. All three of the EOV books are worth seeking out and purchasing if you are a serious fan of fantasy, especially of the heroic or "sword and sorcery" variety.
This volume contains stories by Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Manly Wade Wellman, Jack Williamson, and the little known Weird Tales Magazine great Nictzin Dyalhis. While all but the Dyalhis stories have recently been reprinted in collections of these authors works, this book is still highly valuable just for Karl Edward Wagner's editorial comments and introductions to each author alone. Wagner, in addition to being one of the all time great American fantasists and horror writers of the 20th century, was also a very erudite fan of the fantasy, horror and pulp writers who came before him. Volume III contains information on Wellman and Dyalhis especially that I have never seen printed anywhere else. For this reason alone the book should be recommended, however in addition, all of the stories chosen are excellent (something that can't always be said about these types of anthologies).
The stories represent the authors chosen at some of their best. The Howard tale is the introduction of the real "Red Sonya", not to be confused with the Marvel Comics chain mail bikini clad version "Red Sonja". The two Kuttner stories feature his fantasy hero Prince Raynor, whose adventures take place in a prehistoric empire in Asia. Manly Wade Wellman's story is one of my favorites, wherein his Cro-Magnon era hero Hok "the Mighty" visits Wellman's take on Atlantis. Possibly the best story in the book is Jack Williamson's story "Wolves of Darkness" and the book winds up with two rousing stories by the obscure Dyalhis.
I give this book a well deserved 5 stars.
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