Fourteen years has been far too long to wait for another collection of novellas and short stories from Stephen Donaldson, who first came to our attention with his startling and epic anti-hero trilogies about Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. With Reave the Just and Other Tales, Donaldson proves once again that he is the quintessential fantasist and the true successor and heir to J.

R.

R. Tolkien. In this volume of eight tales, three of which have never before been published, Donaldson seems to be expunging some demons from his personal life (check his comments in the introduction), but does so in a strange and wondrous manner.

As we have come to expect in Donaldson stories, the design and plots are flavored with an Eastern philosophical, mystical bent, usually communicated with liberal amounts of gore, sex, and violence. Though it sounds contradictory, Donaldson, with the wisdom and style of a Zen master, succeeds in dazzling us on both intellectual and gut-wrenching levels, simultaneously.

Donaldson's writing is particularly outstanding in developing the mythic dimensions of various cultural perceptions and their role in personal morality; this is best demonstrated in the story The Woman Who Loved Pigs. In The Djinn Who Watches over the Accursed, we view the perspective of both the victim whom a mage caught in flagrante delicto and the djinn the mage called down an adventure story that illustrates Ghandian principles of non-violent resistance. In Reave the Just, similar themes dominate as a brutal and sadistic bully encounters the force of an ideal embodied in a national hero, who understands personal honor in a tale of love, magic, lust, greed and deadly sins. This tale is a first cousin to the classic Princess Bride.

Don't miss this truly outstanding book.

Larry Woods is an avid reader of science fiction.

comments powered by Disqus