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1. Swordspoint
2. The Privilege of the Sword
3. The Fall of The Kings
4. Thomas the Rhymer
5. The Greek Plays
6. The Golden Dreydl
7. Basilisk
8. Borderland: Where Magic Meets
9. St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond
10. Thomas le Rimeur
11. HEROIC VISIONS (1) (i) One; and
12. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror:
13. Knights of the Round Table (Choose
14. St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond:
15. Magical Beginnings
16. Outlaws of Sherwood Forest (Choose
17. Last Drink Bird Head : A Flash
18. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror:
19. Biography - Kushner, Ellen Ruth
20. Thomas the Rhymer

1. Swordspoint
by Ellen Kushner
Mass Market Paperback: 368 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553585495
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The classic forerunner to The Fall of the Kings now with three bonus stories.

Hailed by critics as “a bravura performance” (Locus) and “witty, sharp-eyed, [and] full of interesting people” (Newsday), this classic melodrama of manners, filled with remarkable plot twists and unexpected humor, takes fantasy to an unprecedented level of elegant writing and scintillating wit.Award-winning author Ellen Kushner has created a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs, and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.


On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dark, Decadent Fun
Like fine brandy and dark chocolate, this decadent fantasy is decidedly adult fun. This is the first novel in a loose "trilogy" of fantasy novels set in the slums of Riverside, an island in the middle of a great city filled with nobles, tradesmen and University students.

The dwellers of Riverside serve the rest, as servants and swordsmen, whores and pickpockets, spies, thieves, sailors...and you name it. SWORDSPOINT opens with a single drop of blood falling on white snow and draws the reader into intimacy with Richard St Vier, the city's most notable swordsman. St Vier enjoys an irregular liaison with a former University student, Alec, who swings from suicidal depression to maniac mischief rarely passing through sanity.

However erratic Alec's moral compass is, he has an unerring instinct for the treachery of the nobles. These men (and in a few cases, women) claim the privilege of the sword: only they can issue challenges. The actual dirty work of fighting is delegated to the professional swordsmen. Mostly the fighting is done by proxy and only the lower classes get hurt. Once in awhile, a noble is challenged without a professional available--if he has to do his own fighting, he usually winds up dead. Then the Court of Honor is called in to determine if the low-born swordsman who did it had a true commission from a sufficiently highborn noble to justify the crime.

When the elderly Lord Horn makes an advance to Michael Godwin and gets rejected, he plots to murder the younger man. But Michael has been studying under a swordmaster so he can fight his own battles. Alec and Richard get caught up in this intrigue and another even darker plot to murder the Chancellor of the kingdom. St Vier is soon on trial for his life...

Richard is an outstanding character in fantasy, completely courageous and with a gritty integrity forged in the depths of depravity. He won't kill women or act as a ceremonial guard at weddings. He refuses all written contracts because he can't read anyway, preferring to trust to the honor of the nobles who hire him. Because he is an honorable man, he can't see that they lack both honor and honesty. Richard's honor redeems everyone it touches, including Alec. Outstanding. Not at all X-rated. This book is recommended for fans of the sport of fencing, dreamers on the ragged fringe and players of chess. If you like intricate intrigue, high courage, dark thoughts, this is a fantasy for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Second look years later
I read this book years ago when it first came out.I re-read it recently after I read "Privilege".I remember that I liked it more the first time.Perhaps attractive, angry young male sociopaths aren't interesting to me anymore.

Kushner does write beautifully.The world she is writing about is complex and interesting.Unfortunately, I didn't like most of the characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Favorite urban fantasy novel/love story, ever
Not sure how this all averages out to only four stars.In many years of reading fantasy and SF, this stands out as one of my all time favorites.It is everything one wants from a great love story and tale of manners.Its redeems the sort of edgy lives that many of us lead in the real world, with wit and grace.And it is told with unerring good taste, of the sort which can tell you anything without putting in too much or too little or breaking the fictional dream.I regret only that I'll never get to read it again for the first time.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bland
I had heard such good things about this book, but I just couldn't see what was so great about it.
The main characters, Richard and Alec, were very disappointing. Especially Richard. That man has the personality of a rock. He robotically kills upon request and doesn't seem to care about anything at all. His lover leaves him - No big deal. He's thrown in jail and sentenced to death - Oh well. For the life of me I couldn't understand what Alec saw in him. To me he was just some boring bloke who happened to be a talented swordsman.

Alec was a bit better. I enjoyed his snarkiness and complexity, though I wished there was more of it. The minor characters and their mundane political issues dragged on and on and I had to try hard not to fall asleep while trying to understand it.

I really feel I would have liked this book if there was more character development. I would have loved to get to know the main characters more deeply, except the author held them at a distance. There were minor characters with potential that were randomly dropped. And there were times, such as the fireworks scene, where I felt like it ALMOST clicked, but then the next scene the feeling would be gone. Very frustrating. The writing was very beautiful and the descriptions were elegant, that was fine. The book just didn't do anything for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
Let's get it out of the way from the get go, this book features homosexuality.The main character and his lover are gay.Now that we've gotten that out of the way, and gotten rid of anyone whose uncomfortable with that, on to the real review.

Swordspoint is a novel of political intrigue and swordplay set in a fantasy land.There is no magic, there are no fairy creatures, and no one have special powers.If you're looking for dragons and wizards, this is not for you.However if you want a book the features well crafted dialogue, and superbly written fight scenes I recommend it.Swordspoints provides a look at both the cream of society and their political maneuvering, and the lowest classes who are often the instruments of these acts.It's a very enjoyable read, and the subtleties of the political maneuvering can take several reads to fully see.The sword fights are extremely well written, focusing on the pacing, timing, and energy of the fight rather then the actual tactics or maneuvers.This works far better to convey the action then a description of different techniques and counters.Overall one of my favorite fantasy novels. ... Read more

2. The Privilege of the Sword
by Ellen Kushner
Mass Market Paperback: 480 Pages (2007-06-26)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$1.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553586963
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city's ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society.Her mistake is thinking that they apply.For Katherine's host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in charge here—and to him, rules are made to be broken. When Alec decides it would be more amusing for his niece to learn swordplay than to follow the usual path to marriage, her world changes forever.Blade in hand, it's up to Katherine to navigate a maze of secrets and scoundrels and to gain the self-discovery that comes to those who master: the privilege of the sword.

From the Trade Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

2-0 out of 5 stars Easy, cheezy ending
Kushner's world in "Privilege" is interesting and complex, and she writes well.I wanted to be interested in a young woman, forced to learn to sword fight by her crazy, malicious uncle.I wanted to like and admire her.However like "Swordspoint",I didn't like Our Heroine or most of the other characters.

I loathed the too easy, unbelievably cheerful ending.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent prose, but split on a final yay or nay
The short of Ellen Kushner's The Privilege of the Sword: I liked it. Though I have to say I'm split.

A brief summary:

Lady Katherine Talbert goes to live with her Uncle, the Mad Duke, who has it in for Katherine's mother (the Duke's sister) and vows to leave her alone should she commit her daughter to living with him for six months. In that time, the Mad Duke completely changes her perspective on life and her place in it, having her trained as a swords(wo)man. Once she has mastered the sword, she can no longer go back to the life she would have otherwise led. It's as much a coming-of-age story as it is about the sordid politics the Mad Duke has immersed himself in. In the end, it's up to Katherine, with her Uncle's help, to save the day.

My analysis...

On one hand, it's written exceptionally well. The writing flows naturally, the prose are very concise, never once does she launch into pages and pages of backstory or what I term 'excessive exposition', which is when a writer goes overboard dealing with a character's internal emotions or conflict. She keeps the story moving along from page-to-page, never really slowing with the exception of a page here and there where she gets a little too much into the intricacies of the lives of the young female aristocrats and their oh-so-harried social lives. The book was a delight to read, especially from the perspective of trying to learn, learn, learn everything I can so I can hopefully someday find success of my own with my own writing. Chalk this one up as a great learning experience.

On the other hand, there's not enough story there for my tastes. Kushner throws in a few smaller plotlines, one of which ties into Katherine's expertise with the sword, but the main plot didn't give me enough to sink my teeth into. I understand there are two other books which came out before The Privilege of the Sword (Swordspoint, The Fall of The Kings), but neither is necessary to understand this one (I haven't read either). So, what we have is Katherine learning the sword, her using her expertise to avenge a friend's honor, and the Duke playing a sort of chess game against one of his main rivals in the city. I'm afraid even that might be pushing it as the third point only comes into play towards the end.

In summary, The Privilege of the Sword is very well written but just didn't give me enough to truly enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Different Take on Fantasy and The Sword
I really enjoyed the sequel to Swordspoint. Kushner's characters are compelling and interesting. The whole world she creates is so different to our own time period. It's fantasy, but could be very similar to what happened in the city-states of Renaissance times. I kept imagining much of the setting looking something like Italy.

I'd highly recommend this for those who like different, cutting edge fantasies. It is definitely not your average book. The swashbuckling is done by the main character's niece from Swordspoint. It continues the story in the first book showing how time has affected the characters. I'm already ordering the third book. Looking forward to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read, but not as good as Swordspoint
Privilege of the Sword is a good, fun read.It is however much better if you are familiar with the characters and world from Swordspoint and the Fall of Kings.The novel features good pacing and brings back several old characters too good effect.Overall the novel doesn't feature as much of the witty word play and political intrigue that made Swordsplay so dazzling, but it stands as a solid read by itself.The book is a very fast read, I think I finished it in one day on a vacation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Angieville: THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD
I finally got around to reading this one after reading review after glowing review by a host of well-known authors. THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD is indeed high, swashbuckling fantasy that reads like a cross between Georgette Heyer and Guy Gavriel Kay. And for the first half of the book, I really enjoyed it.

Katherine is a very nice young noblewoman from the country. When her uncle, the Mad Duke, offers to raise her family out of impending poverty in exchange for Katherine coming to live with him in the city and training as a swordswoman, she doesn't even think about it twice. To save her family (and perhaps make a good marriage in town), Katherine jumps at the chance. Trouble is, her uncle really does appear to be "mad" and, in lieu of joining him in his bouts of debauchery and midnight carousing, Katherine is left to fend for herself. After her initial horror at wearing men's clothes, she surprises herself by taking to the art of sword fighting quite quickly. The duke's faithful servant Marcus takes her under his wing as well. The two of them quickly become friends and partners in their secret quest to find out just what the devil the duke and his secret, highborn visitors are up to.

Its rich, heady atmosphere and fast pace are the story's strong points. And the Mad Duke Tremontaine is priceless. I never did grow very close to Katherine, though. And her developing relationship with Marcus seemed forced, as though they got together for lack of having anyone better around. I didn't buy that they really cared that much for each other. I did buy that they both cared about the duke, and with good reason. I wanted more on his character and the machinations of his Hamlet-style, mad north-north-west mind. The story felt like it wanted to go in so many different directions, and explore so many characters at once, but didn't have the necessary space nor sanity to do so, that it was hard to care about the characters you wanted to. I enjoyed it for the most part. I just wish it had stayed in one place long enough for me to really fall in love. ... Read more

3. The Fall of The Kings
by Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman
Mass Market Paperback: 528 Pages (2003-09-30)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553585940
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule.Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it….

The Fall of the Kings

Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side.But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men, Theron Campion, a young nobleman of royal lineage, is heir to an ancient house and a modern scandal. Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University.There he meets Basil St. Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge–and a passion for the ancient kings.Of course, everyone now knows that the wizards were charlatans and the kings their dupes and puppets.Only Basil ins not convinced–nor is he convinced that the city has seen its last king…

From the Trade Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars All about me!
I loved this book - and yet I hated the ending - but I'd still recommend it. Weird huh...

I think I hated it because for nearly the whole book I get to be inside Theron and Basil's heads - but then - nothing. The major climactic moment and I don't get them from the inside - and almost even cursorily from the outside.

I hated that.

Yet I still love this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
While there was plenty in Swordspoint and in Privilege Of The Sword that I didn't love, at least the books were well-written, relatively straight-forward in plot (plenty of twists, but plots that actually made sense overall) and the characters were developed enough to keep one intrigued.Not so this book.It's radically different than the first two in context, theme, and plot development.I can honestly say that I labored through this book, determined to finish it and see how the authors wrapped it up, and I consider the entire unpleasant effort a waste of my time.Boring, overly pedantic and tiresome, this book finishes with a truly awful ending, wherein nothing is resolved and the entire plot is shelved, awaiting a presumed next installment in the series which I have no desire to read.I actively despised most of the characters, found the sexual references ridiculous and unbelieveable, and the book was WAY too long - by the end, I couldn't wait to put it down, and was a bit disappointed that more of the main characters weren't killed off because they certainly were not worth saving.Spare yourself and skip this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous culmination of the Trilogy
This book is outstandingly marvelous!
Give yourself a treat and read its predecessors in the trilogy: Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword. This one is the last and best of the three.

1-0 out of 5 stars Marginal
Being a fan of the world of Swordspoint, I couldn't wait for this book to arrive. I stayed up to read it. I'm done now, and the only thing that really comes to mind in response is;

"Oh, re-ally?"

It's the sort of book that when you read it, you want it to be better. I kept waiting for the big payoff, or a at least a touching scene between Theron and Basil. Neither happened. While waiting for that, I kept a laundry list of things that were bothering me the whole time I was reading the book:

1. Radical Retconning: There had been, in the first two books, some suggestions of some vaguely anglican religion. Katherine had spoken of the fetival that happened on Last Night in the Priveledge of the Sword, and Richard and Octavia actually described a whole night of festivities. None of these festivities included stags, kings, deers, wizards, or anything else that this book claims is tradition. On the same topic, Katherine's behavoir seems really weird for her. As does Gregory's. Marcus..... would the real Marcus please stand up?

2. Random Sex. Why on earth do Basil and Theron like each other enough to bang? I don't get it. Basil seems more annoyed by Theron most of the time. I had a relationship like this once..... it didn't end up in me dying for the fellow. It ended in me RUNNING AWAY.

3. Wandering Plot: There are all sorts of stings hanging loose and confusing at the end. I, frankly, don't get the end at all. It makes NO SENSE. If we presume that indeed, this is some sort of wiccan-type magic at the end, then Theron oughta be dead. The end resolution could use some smoke and mirrors or at least a handwave or two.

4. Exposition, after exposition, after exposition..... oh god. And lots of Captain Obvious.

5. Transparent Plot: As much as it wandered, the basic plot line was so thin and transparent none of the exclaimations and surprise of the characters when they finally discovered the Truth (captital T and all) seemed genuine.

I'm a fan of this world, but this was just plain painful to read.

Oh, and the Richard's Ghost thing.... it does seem out of character, he's not the sort of person that would come back to Riverside, I think he'd prefer to live out his ghostly hours where he had been happy. But, if he had returned to the riverside house and practiced sword like he had when he was younger -- why couldn't have Alec been there by the fire, keeping him company? Is there no peace for the dead?

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth it, if ultimately disappointing
First off, I loved this book...right up until the end.It has possibly THE most disappointing conclusion I have ever read.Not, as one might suspect, because of the actual climatic events, but because of how it was handled by the writers.The entire emotional thrust of the book comes from either Basil or Theron and yet, when the most emotional aspect of the book happens, the writers deprive the reader of any response, narrative or reaction from the emotional characters.I needed that closure, to know what Theron thought, what he felt.To have the book finish from the point of view of a minor, late-introduced character is a cheat, as far as I'm concerned.

However, I still gave it 4 stars because, up until that point, I was enthralled by this book.The relationship between Theron and Basil was powerful, passionate and satisfying.I can see myself picking the book back up to read scenes in isolation, but I don't think I could ever read it cover to cover again thanks to the intense frustration the ending gave.
... Read more

4. Thomas the Rhymer
by Ellen Kushner
Kindle Edition: 304 Pages (2007-12-18)
list price: US$6.99
Asin: B000XUDHLQ
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Award-winning author and radio personality Ellen Kushner’s inspired retelling of an ancient legend weaves myth and magic into a vivid
contemporary novel about the mysteries of the human heart.Brimming with ballads, riddles, and magical transformations, here is the timeless tale of a charismatic bard whose talents earn him a two-edged otherworldly gift.

A minstrel lives by his words, his tunes, and sometimes by his lies.But when the bold and gifted young Thomas the Rhymer awakens the desire of the powerful Queen of Elfland, he finds that words are not enough to keep him from his fate.As the Queen sweeps him far from the people he has known and loved into her realm of magic, opulence—and captivity—he learns at last what it is to be truly human.When he returns to his home with the Queen’s parting gift, his great task will be to seek out the girl he loved and wronged, and offer her at last the tongue that cannot lie.

From the Paperback edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This is without a doubt the most beautifully written book I've ever come across.So lyrical and well written.It inspired me to continually search for more material written by the author.Suffice it to say she had already written her masterpiece and so became a chameleon.I did read her next book and was sorely disappointed.Thomas the Rhymer though I have read over and over again it is that good.I can only say that for J.R.R. Tolkien.So if you have the chance, buy this book and read it to your loved ones.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best description of Faerie I have ever found
I am a lover of all things Faerie. I have put alot of time and research into the world of Faerie because I am a Faerie artist. This book is the best description of the Faerie realm that I have ever read.It is "fantastical" and imaginative and wonderful.For those who are deeply interested in the world of Faerie, it is highly recommended.For those with no love of fantasy, don't bother.

The story is what it is.A legend, taken from an old poem; and yes it may be anticlimactic.But if you read it, read it for the creative imagination that went into it.Read it for a true glimpse of the Faerie world.

I treasure this book and have read it many times over.

2-0 out of 5 stars a wonderfully written bore
it is no problem to admit that i heartily envy ms kushner writing skill: she is a wondrous writer, she handles her language with a subtlety unheard of and still she manages to avoid any overwriting, any mannerism.

the story itself, though, is not great: some reviewers say it is true to the legend: should it be really so, then the problem might lie in the original plot.

be it as it may, characterization is dull, except for the elderly couple, and elfland is lushiously boring, the queen being the worst of all.

the verses included are enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent fantasy story
In this fascinating book, acclaimed author Ellen Kushner takes the old legends of Thomas of Erceldoune (a.k.a. True Thomas the seer and Thomas the Rhymer), and retells them in a fascinating, thoroughly modern style. This is the tale of a bard of no small talent who find himself the object of the Queen of Elfland's desire. Whisked off to the land of Fairy for seven years, he must unravel a mysterious riddle and save an immortal soul. And when he returns to the land of the living, will he be the same man he was, can he be?

This is a fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyable story. The author does an excellent job of keeping the flavor and substance of the old stories, while at the same time updating them and making them a treat for the modern reader. Indeed, I was often struck by how much the story rang true to the old folktales I have studied throughout my life. So, if you are a fan of stories of Fairy and the Lords and Ladies, or simply enjoy a good (excellent) fantasy story, then I highly recommend this book to you. You won't be disappointed!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the usual fantasy fare
This is not a book to read if you're seeking a stirring adventure.Thomas does go on a long, strange trip, but the focus is as much on how his life impacts the people important to him as it is on his experiences in Elfland.Kushner's decision to write only Thomas's Elfland experiences in his own voice, then, is a clever one.Also, seeing Thomas before and after his journey through the eyes of others reveals the extent of the change in him more thoroughly than if we remained in his head.

Kushner does an excellent job of giving each of the four narrators a distinct perspective, a difficult thing to do.And because they see different things in each other and percieve their relationships with one another differently, there's the opportunity to ponder how it is we get along in the world when we all have disparate visions of reality.This is a marvelously subtle way to question whether True Thomas can ever wholly tell the truth.Is the truth absolute, or is it changeable depending on individual understanding?This question lingers long after the book is shut.

So why did I give Thomas the Rhymer only three stars?Well, for all the lovely writing and thoughtful structure, it left me cold.For one, the Faery Queen who is the heart of all this trouble and change seemed to me little more than a blowup doll.She laid a couple of spells on Thomas, but mostly all they did was copulate, and I needed either for her to be more interesting or to feel more of why Thomas was infatuated with her.(Because of the distance I felt from her, also, the ending of the book was less moving for me than it should have been.)Apart from that, I felt Kushner passed over a great opportunity to explore what the effects of Thomas's truth-saying might be.There was some of that, certainly, in the final section of the book, but much was made of the gift of truth-telling in Faery (and whether it was a gift at all), and then very little was done with it.

Reading this book is a gamble.It has its virtues, and if you think you'll enjoy piecing together a larger meaning based on the fragments of story and varying points of view, you'll probably enjoy it well enough.However, if you want a story that swallows you whole and spits you out at the end with no respite to sit back and intellectualize, this may not be for you. ... Read more

5. The Greek Plays
by Ellen McLaughlin
Paperback: 240 Pages (2004-07-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559362405
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

From The Persians
"Defeat is impossible
Defeat is unthinkable
We have always been the favorites of fate.
Fortune has cupped us
In her golden palms.
It has only been a matter
Of choosing our desire. Which fruit
To pick from the nodding tree."

This chilling passage is from Ellen McLaughlin's new adaptation of The Persians by Aeschylus, the earliest surviving play in Western literature, an elegy for a fallen civi-lization and a warning to its new conqueror. As Margo Jefferson wrote in the New York Times, "The play is a true classic: we see the present and the future right there, inside the past. And when writers give us a 'new version' (a translation or adaptation) of a classic, they both serve and use it. They serve the playwright's gifts by refusing to simplify. But they can't just imitate. Every age has its own rhythms and drives. The classic must make us feel the new acutely. Ellen McLaughlin serves and uses The Persians with true power and grace."

Also included in this volume: Iphigenia and Other Daughters (from Euripides and Sophocles); The Trojan Women (Euripides); Helen (Euripides); and Lysistrata (Aristophanes), all powerfully realized and as relevant today as when they were first performed.

Ellen McLaughlin's plays include Days and Nights Within, A Narrow Bed, Infinity's House and Tongue of a Bird, which have been widely produced. She is a past finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and was the co-winner of the Great American Play Contest. Also an accomplished actor, Ms. McLaughlin is most known for having originated the part of the Angel in Tony Kushner's Angels in America, appearing in every U.S. production through its Broadway run.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lyrical and Essential Journey
This book of plays by Ellen McLaughlin contains simply the most beautiful, most exciting new takes on these ancient classics to come along in YEARS.The voice is both fresh and resonant with age, gritty and transcendent. Some are better than others, of course (My complete favorite is IPHIGENEIA AND OTHER DAUGHTERS), but each play is more than worth the read, and makes you itch to mount/play them.These plays are also an important resource for young women on their acting journey.I have given it as a gift to several of these actors who are trying to find their own strengths both as women and as artists, and the plays speak vividly to each of them.If you are a serious theatre artist -- whether in the performance profession or in the educational realm -- you should own this book. ... Read more

6. The Golden Dreydl
by Ellen Kushner
Paperback: 126 Pages (2010-07)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580891365
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Sara finds Chanukah celebrations boring. When her Tante Miriam arrives and gives her a Golden Dreydl, everything changes. The dreydl, an enchanted princess in disguise, takes Sara on a journey to a magical world.When the princess is taken by the Demon King, who possesses the power of the Tree of Life, it is Sara who must use her wit to save the princess and return her to her parents -- King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.A delightful holiday tale that weaves together threads of Jewish folklore and tradition with fantasy and humor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Golden Dreydl
A fantasy for younger chapter-book readers, this takeoff of The Nutcracker is a Jewish-themed adventure into the magical world of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.Sara's mysterious Tante Miriam makes a surprise appearance at her family's Chanukah dinner.Miriam has unusual gifts for all the children, but offers a huge golden dreydl to Sara that disappoints her. After a tussle over the dreydl breaks the TV screen, Sara is held responsible, and the dreydl, who has taken her real form of an enchanted princess, guides Sara through the broken television set and into a world of fantasy.
The princess turns out to be the daughter of the king and queen and she is promptly kidnapped by a flying horde of demons and their king, Ashmedai (demon king of Talmudic legend and purported adversary of Solomon).A Fool comes to Sara's aid, listens to her story, and they find sufficient common bonds, including an affinity for solving riddles, to embark on a mission to rescue the princess/dreydl from the demons' clutches. After some rousing adventures, the rescuers succeed in entering the demon king's lair, and find the princess and many other captives spinning like dreydls, helpless to stop.The demons, too, are riddlers, and so it's a good thing that Sara and The Fool are talented puzzle-solvers.The conclusion is satisfying, as Sara returns home with lessons learned, the TV fixed, and the realization that boring old Chanukah parties can be significantly more fun. The author, an established award-winning fantasy writer for teens and adults, does an admirable job of combining Jewish folklore and holiday traditions with an appealing fantasy story for young readers. The delightful black and white line drawings that are sprinkled throughout the text provide further entry into the magical world that Kushner has created. A useful glossary of Jewish terms is included. For ages 8-10. Reviewed by Steve Silverman
... Read more

7. Basilisk
 Paperback: Pages (1984-04)
list price: US$2.50 -- used & new: US$5.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441050808
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8. Borderland: Where Magic Meets Rock & Roll (Borderlands Series)
by Steven R Boyett, Bellamy Bach, Charles De Lint, Ellen Kushner
Mass Market Paperback: 256 Pages (1992-12-15)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$174.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812522613
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Charles de Lint, Ellen Kushner, Stephen R. Boyett, and Bellamy Bach collaborate on a tale of the Borderlands, where humans and highborn Elves mix. Reprint. AB. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Borderworld
dear lovers of urban fantasy and faery lore,
.... is a place where magic and technology have formed an unstable alliance and to which teenagers runaway to find that thing that is missing in their lives. Alas, the elves are usually portrayed as being rather like spoiled rich kids, still we loved this series, although like most short story collections some stories appealed to us more than others. There are three other collections in this series, Bordertown: Where Magic Meets Rock & Roll, Life On The Border (Borderlands) and The Essential Bordertown (Borderlands), all of which we enjoyed. We also recommend the novels associated with it, Emma Bull's Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands, which while not as good as War for the Oaks: A Novel, nor a classic like that one, is still fun to read. Also, Will Shetterly's Elsewhere and Nevernever. We simply wished they'd write more in the series, and perhaps realize that not all elves are of the Unseelie variety.
the silver elves

5-0 out of 5 stars The Land of Fairy before LKH
LKH suggests she created the Urban Fantasy genre...how wrong she is.

Borderland emerged over a decade before her Merry Gentry (Faery) series.

The land of fairy returns, and its a messy reunification at best. The land between the normal human world and fairy is called "The Border" a place where one can easily become lost--or found. In the rements of evacuated cities from this rebirth the two worlds come together in Bordertown, where magic and technology don't always work. The town is teeming with the outcasts, run-aways and dreamers of both fairy and earth children.

The stories are fabulous rich in mythology, Aurthurian legend, and fairy tales. The characters are heartbreakingly real and flawed. I wish the series would continue.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great urban fantasy geared towards a teen audience
I'm no longer a teenager, but I still really enjoyed this book, which consists of four novellas. All deal with the Borderland, a place where elves & humans coexist uneasily, where technology & magic are bothunreliable, & where lots of down-on-their-luck youths gather to playgreat music & attempt to live their dreams. Very original, excellentlywritten, & I think that almost everyone will find something to identifywith. I particularly liked the examination of the issues that 'halfies'(those who are half-elf, half-human) face. This is another of TerriWindling's fine projects, & it's a shame that this series is so hard toget hold of!

4-0 out of 5 stars Borderland: The Lord of the Rings meets Rolling Stone
I discovered this book by accident, and I am glad that I did.

Borderland is about a world like ours in which the Elves and their magic have returned to earth. Magic and technology both work sporadically in Bordertown (which lies at the heart of the Borderlands) where teenagers runaway to hang out in rock and roll clubs where fairie dust is a drug and music is magic.

The book is the first in an anthology series featuring such talents as Emma Bull and Charles de Lint.

After losing some of my interest in works of fantasy, this book reignited a spark in me like gasoline on a bbq pit. I haven't felt this way about a work of fantasy since Conan or Fahfrd and Greymouser.These books are nearly impossible to get ahold of but Essential Bordertwon is a new one coming out soon.

I cannot recommend this book and this series highly enough. ... Read more

9. St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond SIGNED by Richard W. Burhans 1st Edition
by Ellen Kushner and Richard W. Burhans
 Hardcover: Pages (1994-01-01)

Asin: B003CKHUK8
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10. Thomas le Rimeur
by Ellen Kushner, Béatrice Vierne
Mass Market Paperback: 370 Pages (2002-10-30)
-- used & new: US$31.78
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Asin: 2070420647
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11. HEROIC VISIONS (1) (i) One; and (2) (ii) Two: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser; Curse of the Smalls and Stars; Sister Light Sister Dark; Tales Told to a Toymaker; Prophecy of the Dragon; Before the Seas Came; Thunder Mother; Dancers in the Time Flux
by Jessica Amanda (editor) (Jody Scott; Manly Wade Wellman; Thomas Ligotti; Ellen Kushner; Keith Roberts; Richard A. Russo; Avram Davidson; Michael Nicholas Richard; Gillian FitzGerald; Steven Bryan Bieler; Grania Davis) Salmonson
 Paperback: Pages (1986)

Asin: B000NRRJ6S
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12. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourth Annual Collection
 Paperback: 552 Pages (1991-07)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312060076
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13. Knights of the Round Table (Choose Your Own Adventure No. 86) (Choose Your Own Adventure, No 86)
by Ellen Kushner
 Paperback: 114 Pages (1988-11-01)
list price: US$2.50
Isbn: 055327595X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A rare gem...
This book (along with Outlaws of Sherwood Forest and The Enchanted Kingdom) by Ellen Kushner is a childhood favorite (and adult!!) If you were a fan of the seriers, Knights, King Arthur, or Fantasy in general, try and get a used copy!! I think it is sad that these books are out of print, they were the cornerstone of my childhood.
Because of this book I became interested in this time period, and still am to this day. After reading it you feel like you've met king Arthur, worked as a page and scullion, fought in a joust, and tangled with evil. And Judith Mitchell's illustrations are not to be missed!

... Read more

14. St. Nicholas and the Valley Beyond: A Christmas Legend
by Richard Burhans, Ellen Kushner
 Hardcover: 96 Pages (1994-10-01)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$25.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670844209
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Featuring fifty full-color paintings and two gatefolds, a beautifully produced oversized volume offers an allegorical tale about St. Nicholas and the riddle he and the inhabitants of the Valley Beyond must solve. 60,000 first printing. $60,000 ad/promo. Tour. ... Read more

15. Magical Beginnings
Paperback: 352 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756401216
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Every great writer has to start somewhere. Here in one volume are the magical debuts of today's greatest fantasy legends-with new introductions and insight from the esteemed editors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the 'beginnings' anthologies: 16 fantasy(ish) stories
Each of these stories is a 'first' story (in 3rd person limited unless otherwise specified), and is accompanied by a short essay by the author describing how the story came to be written and published.

The essays are often worth reading - "Third Time Lucky", for example, was indeed accepted for publication by the third outfit to which it was submitted, and wouldn't have existed if Tanya Huff had favoured snow-skiing, for example, over ogling the men at Caribbean resorts.

Apart from the entertainment value, the essays also provide some interesting information on the writers' development, as writers in general and of these stories in particular.

Beagle, Peter S.: "My Daughter's Name Is Sarah" is narrated by her father, a professor who can only watch the 11-year-old's first crush, hoping she doesn't get hurt. Rather than F/SF, this is Beagle's first 'attempt at dealing believably with believable human beings'.

Bull, Emma: "The Rending Dark" (from SWORD AND SORCERY 1) Written partially to supply things missing from Conan stories: friendship and chatty dialogue (one of the two ladies is a Songsmith, the other can hold her own) - as well as being a lost colony world rather than magical.

de Lint, Charles: "The Fane of the Grey Rose" (from SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS VI, later expanded to the novel THE HARP OF THE GREY ROSE) Cerin (the narrator), a 20-year-old farm labourer and self-taught harper, meets a maid in market one day he nicknames for the flower in her hair. Rather than his lover, she becomes his dearest friend. But somebody else is pursuing her down the years...

Friesner, Esther: "The Stuff of Heroes" Margaret came up with the ultimate gimmick for a romance writer (even though she's really a tech designer with delusions of literary grandeur). Unfortunately, she's hitting the brandy this evening because now that other authors can use the gimmick, her own work won't sell.

Hobb, Robin (as Lindholm, Megan): "Bones for Dulath" (from AMAZONS!) The first Ki and Vandien story, which led to the novel HARPY'S FLIGHT. (Both are swordfighters, just in different styles, rapier and broadsword.) After her partner is poisoned in a pit trap, Ki must find an antidote. The only trouble is, the antidote requires seeking the monster that *created* the trap...

Huff, Tanya: "Third Time Lucky" What if the most powerful wizard in the world were also the laziest, and only wanted to loaf at home on a tropical island? Unfortunately, although Magdalene feels no need to show off - she's had centuries to learn self-confidence - other wizards can be slow learners.

I enjoy Magdalene's casual style. A bad rider (and *atrocious* singer of bawdy songs), she's apt to grumble over the conditions of travel, as well as haggling over passage (and collecting her share of the resulting savings). Any sensible monster recognizes her, shuts up, and leaves IMMEDIATELY. The supporting cast - her demon housekeeper who rarely loses arguments in the marketplace, the villagers who find her a useful neighbour, and the rather nervous guards sent to deliver another wizard's challenge to her - are also entertaining.

Kushner, Ellen: "The Unicorn Masque" (from Windling's ELSEWHERE 1) was composed by Lazarus to please the queen - who does not know that Lazarus' patrons have created *him* to please her, for plans of their own that even he knows little of.

Lackey, Mercedes: "A Different Kind of Courage" - see FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER.

LeGuin, Ursula K.: "April in Paris" (from THE WIND'S TWELVE QUARTERS) A frustrated alchemist in the Spider King's reign attempts to invoke a demon, but nets a 20th century mediaeval scholar instead, each depressed over a life's work spent producing a book nobody else will ever care about - and *still* not KNOWING the truth of their subjects of study.

Norman, Lisanne: "The Jewel and the Demon" (from BATTLE MAGIC) is actually a Sholan Alliance story set on the low-tech world of Jalna. The magic system involves psychic abilities with a minimum of wand-waving, so any 'magic' tends to have a more 'scientific' explanation. As for the demon, he sees a way to cut a deal with a reasonable thief rather than the unreasonable mage he's enslaved to...

Norton, Andre: "People of the Crater" - see Norton's GARAN THE ETERNAL.

Patton, Fiona: "The Raven's Quest" - see CAMELOT FANTASTIC. Merlin's raven companion runs afoul of Nimue - but his habit of speaking only in questions saves his life only to condemn him to ask one particular question of everyone he meets.

Reichert, Mickey Zucker: The chieftain's young son has been sent to find "The Ulfjarl's Stone" to save his father's life - and prove himself.

Rusch, Kristine Kathryn: "Sing" The narrator remembers the Earth-human who came among her people years ago to study something he couldn't find words for in their language: music.

Shwartz, Susan: "The Fires of Her Vengeance" (from THE KEEPER'S PRICE) Marelie Hastur, Keeper of Arilinn, returns to her Tower after being raped by bandits (which occurs before the story opens), who left her alive in the mistaken belief that a Keeper no longer a virgin is no longer a threat. Strong points: victim's reaction to rape. Weak points: unexplained situation leading up to the ambush. Also, the story would be hard to follow outside the context of the Way of Arilinn and the strictures placed upon its practitioners (see Bradley's THE FORBIDDEN TOWER).

West, Michelle: "Birthnight" (from Greenberg's CHRISTMAS BESTIARY) How each of the firstborn and endless creatures of magic - including the dragon, the phoenix, the unicorn, and the Queen of Faerie - follow a star across a desert to seek a child that will be born of magic, and yet the end of magic's reign.

3-0 out of 5 stars Less than Magical
Wondrous Beginnings, the science fiction companion volume was much better.

The best thing about this book would be the introductions by each author telling a bit about themselves and the story and how it came to be.

The stories, as one would expect from first published stories, are not of the world-changing variety. Perhaps the best is Peter Beagle's story, and that one isn't fantasy at all, nor science fiction.

The stories aren't bad mind you, some of them are reasonably good. The majority though are middle of the road pieces that are somewhat predictable showing the authors before they developed their voices.

This review may be coloured by the fact I had just finished both Wondrous Beginnings, and Assassin Fantastic. Both DAW anthologies also. This caused me to notice the line-up of the authors was virtually the same in this collection as in Assassin Fantastic. Thus, not really a great overview of the field, but a showcase for the current DAW workhorses(excepting a few). It would have been nice if they could have licensed short stories from authors currently under contract to other publishers for their novels. The collection would have been stronger had they gone farther afield rather than just showing off their own authors.

This was a good idea, but the roster of authors wasn't representative of the stars of the field in my opinion. Of course that does mean you may be exposed to new authors, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, too many collections of the same authors has caused me a familiarity that has bred not yet contempt, but a bit of apathy.

4-0 out of 5 stars fun fantasy anthology
This fantasy anthology provides fans with the introductory story that sixteen fan favorites started their illustrious respective career.The contributions are fun to read though the quality varies with none being atrocious, but not all sixteen being incredibly fantastic.With each tale, the author of that story furnishes an interesting introduction that includes insight and understanding into their career.Clearly not for the casual genre reader, the fascination is not just with each tale, albeit as engaging they are, but also to compare the MAGICAL BEGINNINGS with recent releases from a virtual who's who.

Harriet Klausner ... Read more

16. Outlaws of Sherwood Forest (Choose Your Own Adventure, No 47)
by Ellen Kushner
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1985-07-01)
list price: US$1.95 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553250698
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars nice try
This book is okay but it is kind of silly in parts. If you really want to read it, don't choose to go to the blacksmith's shop for a weapon because that leads to a very foolish ending.It was a little entertaining but I would suggest another CYOA like Daredevil Park, Silver Wings or Forbidden Castle.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT book! Funny, too!
....this was a wonderful book! What kid good at archery (or even not!) hasn't sometimes dreamed of an opportunity like the one Ellen Kushner presents here with such wit and graciousness? Not only _meeting_ Robin Hood, but actually getting to join his famous Merry Men? This whole series of books incarnated kids' dreams for at least two generations. Nice to see some authors are still keeping up with it. ... Read more

17. Last Drink Bird Head : A Flash Fiction Anthology for Charity
by Gene Wolfe, Peter Straub, Stephen R. Donaldson, Hal Duncan, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Jay Lake
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-07-29)
list price: US$9.99
Asin: B003XVYGXA
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Last Drink Bird Head is a variation on a surrealist writing game: we gave the phrase to over 70 writers and asked them "Who or what is Last Drink Bird Head?" The results run the gamut from the hilarious to the terrifying, with each writer bringing their signature style and voice to the enterprise.

Contributors: Daniel Abraham, Michael Arnzen, Steve Aylett, KJ Bishop, Michael Bishop, Desirina Boskovich, Keith Brooke, Jesse Bullington, Richard Butner, Catherine Cheek, Matthew Cheney, Michael Cisco, Gio Clairval, Alan M. Clark, Brendan Connell, Paul Di Filippo, Stephen R. Donaldson, Rikki Ducornet, Clare Dudman, Hal Duncan, Scott Eagle, Brian Evenson, Eliot Fintushel, Jeffrey Ford, Richard Gehr, Felix Gilman, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Rhys Hughes, Paul Jessup, Antony Johnston, John Kaiine, Henry Kaiser, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Tessa Kum, Ellen Kushner, Jay Lake, Tanith Lee, Stina Leicht, Therese Littleton, Beth Adele Long, Dustin Long, Nick Mamatas, JM McDermott, Sarah Monette, Kari OConnor, Ben Peek, Holly Phillips, Louis Phillips, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Mark Rich, Bruce Holland Rogers, Nicholas Royle, G Eric Schaller, Ekaterina Sedia, Ramsey Shehadeh, Peter Straub, Victoria Strauss, Michael Swanwick, Mark Swartz, Alan Swirsky, Rachel Swirsky, Sonya Taaffe, Justin Taylor, Steve Rasnic Tem, Jeffrey Thomas, Scott Thomas, John Urbancik, Genevieve Valentine, Kim Westwood, Leslie What, Andrew Steiger White, Conrad Williams, Liz Williams, Neil Williamson, Caleb Wilson, Gene Wolfe, Jonathan Wood, Marly Youmans, and Catherine Zeidler ... Read more

18. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection (No.9)
Paperback: 624 Pages (1996-06-15)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312144504
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This renowned series, recipient of three World Fantasy Awards, continues to captivate and fascinate readers. Stories by such notables as: Scott Bradfield, A.S. Byatt, Pat Cadigan, Peter Crowther, Charles De Lint, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Ursula K. Le Guin, Patricia A. McKillip, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Douglas E. Winter, and thirty-three other acclaimed writers show off the very best of contemporary fantasy and horror, while comprehensive and exhaustive summations add critical depth to this unique anthology. This book is essential for all fans of the weird and wonderful.
Amazon.com Review
This superb anthology is as valuable for its detailedsummations of horror and fantasy in 1995 (in literature and incomics, television, movies, etc.), as for the 35 stories and 9poems. Also useful for its exploration of the crossover genre known as"dark fantasy." Noteworthy authors include PeterS. Beagle, Ursula LeGuin, StephenKing, LucyTaylor, Steve RasnicTem, TanithLee, A. S. Byatt, DavidJ. Schow, and Joyce CarolOates. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Expand Your Mind
This book is the only one of twelve editions that I have read. It is absolutely amazing. Not only does it question our common place world but it bends, strechtes and recreates you mind. I am looking to buy the book so Ican read it all and have the stories at my finger tips. I am also going toread the next editions. Try one story, you will be hooked! ... Read more

19. Biography - Kushner, Ellen Ruth (1955-): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team
 Digital: 9 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000RY9OE2
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Word count: 2591. ... Read more

20. Thomas the Rhymer
by Kushner Ellen
 Hardcover: Pages (1990-01-01)

Asin: B001E1ZT8M
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