Eve of War edited by Mhairi Simpson & Darren Pulsford
Sharp of mind and instinct; with poise and grace and power – Eve’s Daughters are a match for any opponent. Whether seeking out a worthy test or assailed by brave (but foolish) foes, she is determined and cunning, and will not fail. Here are fifteen tales from across the ages; full of prowess both martial and magical, from an array of unique voices
Time for some short fiction. Occasionally I like to mix things up a little, and an anthology is always a good way to do exactly that. Eve of War collects together fifteen tales of inner strength, determination and an unquenchable will to succeed featuring female protagonists.
Miranda’s Tempest by S.J. Higbee – The collection kicks off with an inventive sequel to one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. And they all lived happily ever after, or did they? Have you ever wondered what happens after the story your familiar with ends?
The Devil’s Spoke by K.T. Davies – Young Chey dreams of a warrior’s life. Her ma, and her nan, have other ideas. An incident in the tavern they own brings this argument to a head. Three generations of a family and some long hidden revelations come together to form a cracking story.
Et Mortuum Esse Audivit by Alasdair Stuart – Alice has an unusual ability. The big question is, is it a blessing or a curse. There are always a couple of stories in any anthology that I feel could benefit from being expanded upon. This is definitely falls into this category. I’d happily read an entire novel based on Alice and her adventures.
Ballad of Sighne by Rahne Sinclair – One of the darker and more adult tales in the collection. A young maiden learns some of life’s harshest lessons. We follow her story from wide eyed innocent to accomplished warrior. I do so enjoy when a villain gets their comeuppance. Especially when they really, really deserve it.
Lucille by Alec McQuay – A wonderfully sinister tale. A feisty old woman in a nursing home uncovers a dark secret. I was reminded of a novel I read back in 2015, Home by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone. This story and that novel both perfectly capture the potential horrors of growing old.
Born by G Clark Hellery – An expectant mother has to protect her child at all costs. I love how this story perfectly captures the bond that exists between a parent and their offspring. The mother is prepared to fight to the death in order to ensure her daughter gets her chance at life.
Repo by Ren Warom – There is an unbreakable connection between siblings. When Mila disappears, her sister Allis will stop at nothing to find out what happened. Even if it takes years and she had to become a blood-thirsty warrior in order to achieve that goal.
One Sssingular Sssenssation by Chloe Yates – Morwenna Cronk (top name) is a retrieval specialist. Now, Morwenna is a consummate professional, and she ain’t gonna let a Snake Queen and her minions stop her from doing her job. Let the mayhem commence! Makes perfect sense to end the collection on a song. Trust me, you’ll understand what I mean when you read this bawdy little tale from Chloe Yates. Beautifully bonkers and all the better for it.
Guess what? That’s only half the story. There are another seven stories from Andrew Reid, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Juliet McKenna, R.J. Davnall, Rob Haines, Francis Knight and Paul Weimer. Every one of them is an absolute corker.
I think the thing I like most about the Fox Spirit anthologies is you are always guaranteed that there will be something for every taste. This independent publisher produces books that are always a joy to discover. Hardly a surprise they won best small press category from the British Fantasy Awards in 2015 is it? I can only hope they will continue to go from strength to strength.
Eve of War is published by Fox Spirit books and is available now. This collection is well worth checking out if you enjoy your fiction in the short form.