Title: After Avalon
Authors: Various, anthology of short stories curated by Nicole Petit
Published by: 18th Wall Productions (August 12, 2016)
Pages: 248 Pages (Paperback)
Blurb: King Arthur is dead. Camelot has fallen. Britain drowns in Saxons.
These are the stories of what came after.
Merlin’s prophecies begin such, in introduction:
“In the days when Arthur’s dream was dimmed, as grey embers under storm, actors from our reverie still acted. A boy ventures into decaying Broceliande with the May Hawk’s daughter, both in search of fathers. Sir Gawain, bereft of his nation, rides in search of my tomb—but finds a friend turned enemy. In the Britain’s hour of need, the round table will be restored to defend Logres in the sky, in the London Blitz.
“My tutor, Bleys, will take a fool’s horse, and two adventurers will trace my dying steps across the world. Sir Lionel’s remains will visit the remains of the Arthurian world, and the Victorians will strive to make a gentleman of Mordred. The Questing Beast will never cease to haunt Pellinore’s line, no matter how far north they trend. The old witch, Morgan, will seek forgiveness. The holy lance will appear once more. And a queen who is no longer a queen will meet a knight who is no longer a knight, and both will marvel at the grave of the greatest king who served his country.
“These may be read, in full, inside.
“But I am tired now, and Nimue calls for me…”
An all-new anthology from the award-winning curator Nicole Petit, featuring stories by Colin Fisher, Leigh Ann Cowan, Amy Wolf, Thomas Olivieri, Jon Black, Patricia S. Bowne, Claudia Quint, David Wiley, Christian Bone, Patrick S. Baker, and Elizabeth Zuckerman.
My Thoughts: This collection is among the greatest in any anthology I have ever picked up. It starts out by delivering a strong story with “The May Hawk’s Daughter” by Colin Fisher which is, arguably, itself worth the price of the anthology. There are many other gems within these pages, with some that will hold strong appeal for certain readers while others may fall flat. This is the problem with any anthology: even the best set of stories will have ones that fall flat for a reader. Yet the diversity in an anthology is one of the most exciting things about it.
The stories in this collection are all bound by a loose thread: they are taking some aspect of Arthurian lore and imagining what happened to it after Arthur’s death. In some stories it follows the characters from the story shortly after Arthur’s death. Others follow objects, such as the holy lance, as they travel into new places in history. They are as diverse in approach and subject matter as the authors themselves, making for a solid collection that will hold appeal to a multitude of readers.
If you are a fan of King Arthur, you will not be disappointed by the treatment of the material by these writers. If you are looking for modern writers to discover, this would be an excellent investment. I have already made note of a few from this collection that I will be following closely, looking back at what they have published and looking ahead to their future publications and contributions. All in all, this is a beautiful book for your shelf filled with a variety of wonderful stories that will whisk you along to various eras and follow along various characters that you are familiar with from the Arthurian legend. You will not regret purchasing a copy of this anthology.