The Sword & Sorcery Anthology by Robert E. Howard

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology

Terrifying barbarians, cunning mages, and daring heroes run rampant through these exceptional examples of the exciting sword and sorcery genre. In “Tower of the Elephant,” Conan takes up jewel thievery but proves to be far better with his sword. “The Flame Bringers” finds antihero Elric infiltrating a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries and outwitting a powerful sorcerer. “Become a Warrior” is the unexpected tale of a child who loses al...

Details The Sword & Sorcery Anthology

TitleThe Sword & Sorcery Anthology
Release DateJun 1st, 2012
PublisherTachyon Publications
GenreFantasy, Short Stories, Anthologies, Heroic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery

Reviews The Sword & Sorcery Anthology

  • Evgeny
    This is an anthology of short sword and sorcery stories with some of them being very hard to qualify as such. If there was ever an anthology called mixed bag, this is the one. The quality of stories ranges from 'timeless classic' (5 stars) to 'why did I waste my time with it' (2 stars). It is also quite easy to predict the quality of a story without reading it using the following algorithm. Do you often hear about its author? Rate it 5 stars if s...
  • Joseph
    A very solid collection that starts off strong (with stories by Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore and Fritz Leiber) and just keeps going. Mostly reprints but with two original stories -- a new Nifft the Lean tale by Michael Shea, and a new story by Michael Swanwick. Other authors include Michael Moorcock, Joanna Russ and Jane Yolen. Oh, and this promising young newcomer named George R.R. Martin. (The Martin piece I'm pretty sure ended up being incorpo...
  • Ralph Pulner
    When I was younger I would go to the bookstore and I would be simply overwhelmed. The fantasy section was about as large as any big chain store section today. I didn't have the pedigree or knowledge that I have in my 40's. I was intimidated by all the titles I've never heard of before. My reading choices were based solely on cool covers or established series. (Star Trek, Predator, etc...) I really missed out.Not as powerful as Hartwell's Dark Des...
  • Derek
    David Drake's introduction does it no favors, and the editors included no connective tissue that would make this more than a haphazard pile of stories. This is a problem when you start with Robert E Howard, C L Moore, and Fritz Leiber--all heavily reprinted--and make an implicit historical progression.The find of this collection is the Dread Empire story with the long title. It reads like a fantasy rework of Shane from the perspective of the myst...
  • Ian Casey
    So, sword and sorcery. Like the Special Air Service or the San Antonio Spurs, you expect things with the initials SAS to contain an assemblage of bad-asses. And yet to date Ive chiefly known the most action-packed branch of the fantasy family tree for its indirect influence on stuff like the Diablo games and 300 films rather than for the written word.Thus, the inventively titled The Sword & Sorcery Anthology. I was intending soon to dive into som...
  • Julie Drucker
    I don't normally read Anthologies because I like my fantasy in larger doses, but I have to give kudos to the group of editors for putting together a good sampling of authors and stories that flow very well from one to the other. I had the opportunity to read some authors that I had not previously read and found it very helpful to me. It gave me the chance to read some different styles of writing and solidified those styles that I found seamless a...
  • dogunderwater
    This is a collection of fine, classic stories. Unfortunately, as an anthology it totally fails because nothing is given any context, narrative or historical. Meant to present a primer of The Classic Sword & Sorcery stories, a beginner would be left wanting, not knowing that many of these stories are parts of greater arcs for their characters, referencing other stories, or continue elsewhere.
  • Michael Pritchett
    A lot of classic shorts that I have already read, but a few clunkers that ruined the whole book.
  • Martin Christopher
    If you're looking for an introduction to Sword & Sorcery, this one is pretty solid. Not the best the genre has to offer, but a good overview and start.
  • Jon
    As with most anthologies and short story collections this was a mixed bag. Standouts for me included the stories by Charles R. Saunders, Glen Cook, Jane Yolen, Rachel Pollack and Michael Swanwick. There were another four or five stories that I enjoyed almost as much. As other reviewers have noted I wish the introduction focused a bit more on the various authors and had more of a general overview of this sub-genre. I'm not saying that the ramble o...
  • Robert
    A pretty great anthology showing the evolution of the genre over the decades. I'm not a short fiction person so there were a few stories that I couldn't finish. Overall it was really good and I'm eager to read more anthologies.Reviews at
  • Aaron Coleman
    No pretension, just good fun story-telling. I'm tempted to read some more Conan books for fun.
  • Laurence MacNaughton
    Absolutely loved this book. As with most anthologies, the best stories are near the front. But this is still a top-notch collection of exciting sword and sorcery fiction. Highly recommended.
  • Joel
    The Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard 4/5This is the story of how Conan met a thief, killed a god, and broke a tower. Gorgeous imagery and stark details make for a fun read that holds up long after it was first written. (By some accounts, this is the first canonical Conan story.)Black Gods Kiss by C.L. Moore 3/5A tale of revenge, possession, and demon lands, in which our heroine makes a classic error and accepts a gift from a demon.The Un...
  • Leigh Anne
    The literary equivalent of comfy sweats for fantasy lovers. Not a complaint.Sometimes you just want a book you know you're going to love. Fans of the wandering-dude-with-a-sword-who-is-often-also-a-wizard trope are going to love this set of short stories. How could you not, when it kicks off with a Conan tale from Robert E. Howard AND also contains an Elric story from Michael Moorcock? Some of the earlier stories are, um, products of their time, ...
  • Patrick Day
    More interesting than great outstanding literature besides two notable stories:The Sea Trolls Daughter & The Adventuress.Strangely enough the only two stories on here written by women I believe. Make of that what you will, haha.
  • Eric Mesa
    I enjoyed all the stories but one on here - the one about the pick-lock. One of my favorites turned out to be the last one, which I think is the shortest story. But the there's still a very compelling story told. I was disappointed with the GRRM story because I thought it was going to be an original short story. It just just part of a Dany chapter from ASOIAF. But, on the plus side I got to compare how it's different from the HBO show, I got to s...
  • Scott
    A fine collection, there was only one story I didn't really enjoy, and that's saying something. I didn't feel the need to reread GRRM's contribution as I've read that chapter from A Storm of Swords twice. Stories I particularly enjoyed are:The Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard,"The Unholy Grail" by Fritz Leiber"The Tale of Hauk" by Poul Anderson"The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams" by Michael Moorcock (Yet again I found myself mystified that...
  • Sirensongs
    I haven't read too much in the sword and sorcery genre, but must confess that I have enjoyed what I have read, and it is a somewhat guilty pleasure of mine. Brutally cunning warriors, luscious, beautiful, buxom women who are often not what they seem, mages and wizards and witches who wield strange and wondrous powers...Really, what's not to love? It is such a fun form of escapism! Even the weaker stories in this anthology had something to recomme...
  • Mario
    I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies, sure, you get a lot of varied stories by several authors, but some of them might be incredibly good and some of them will want you to burn the book. As I had in the past, once I reach a bad story, I tend to put the book on hold...Still, there are a great number of fantastic stories here, you get Conan for example! In spite of what happened to me, don't let some bad apples ruin your experience.Oh, ...
  • Jacinta
    This was a very mixed bag of stories, but overall worth going through (especially if you allow yourself to skip past the ones that look like they won't be great). The second story (Black God's Kiss) is the one that made me leave a review: A the start of the story I'm like 'oh Jesus, she's going to fall in love with him for being so strong and shit, maybe I shouldn't bother reading it.' Middle of the story 'huh look she's going through hell to kil...
  • Max Bolingbroke
    I really liked this collection of short stories. It may be because I don't read much sword and sorcery fiction, but I found them generally very fresh and engaging, none outstaying their welcome or being too generic. Glen Cook's contribution "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat was particularly enthralling and definitely made me want to get into his books, and George R R Martin's "Path of the Dragon" was another beautifully written story...
  • Alytha
    Sort of a mixed bag. Some nice old classics of mighty-thewed barbarians and adoring ladies.A Glen Cook story, in his usual, deeply human style.Some interesting newer stories with female heroes, or antiheroes, as it may be.However, also, some older stories thar just come across completely random and pointless, as if explaining anything to the reader, or having a coherent plot was overrated.Or just completely destroying your entire story, and espec...
  • Charlie
    As with all collections, not every story is for everyone, but the variety is wide spread enough to capture everyone's attention at least with about a quarter of this collection. Not an entirely bad batch, and the ones that I enjoyed were quite awesome. The Howard, Fritz, and Cook stories stand out the most to me right now.All in all, it is good enough to get your feet wet and some interesting story ideas - So, pick and choose at your leisure.
  • Amber Marshall
    Lots of good stuff in this one, and I of course liked some more than others. My favorite is probably "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted With Defeat." I'd read a whole novel of that. Other faves were "Black God's Kiss," "The Adventuress," "Gimmile's Songs," "Undertow" (which I read postpartum at a time when the ending very deeply disturbed me), "The Coral Heart," and "The Sea Troll's Daughter."
  • Michael
    I really enjoyed this book of short stories! The only story I didn't get into much was "The Adventuress". Some of the stories that I thoroughly enjoyed were, "The Tower of the Elephant" (duh, who wouldn't like this one.) :), "Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat", "The Red Guild", "The Coral Heart", and "The Year of the Three Monarchs." Worth every minute I spent reading it!
  • Paul
    My favorite stories from this collection:* The Tower of the Elephant* Solider of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat* The Coral Heart* The Red Guild
  • Ron
    A collection of short tales of sword fights and magic. All were reprints, several I have read and own, but still most were a good read.