Book Review: Blackguards, J. M. Martin, Editor (Three Stars)

Book Review: Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries and Rogues, by J. M. Martin (Editor)

Three Stars

“Stories have power. And shared stories grow with the telling.”

Skip the introduction. Seriously.

“Being distrustful keeps me alive.”

A self-referential collection of twenty-seven short stories promoting the various authors’ greater corpus of works: a literary infomercial. That admitted, this is a better-than-average anthology of stories about nearly famous (in their reality) lowlifes, many of whom aren’t so black as grey. A few only slightly tarnished. A bit of humor here and there leavens the batch.

“There isn’t much in life that counts for less than fair and should.”

One author complains that most fantasies are Medieval Europe. That’s not my experience, but I’m not a fantasy aficionado.

“The past is always part of our present.”

Why fantasy? Why blackguards? Perhaps to scratch the itch of too much respectability. Or perhaps to create the illusion of cynicism: “World is bad; I’m badder.”

“This was pretty much the situation all my trickery and lies were supposed to avert.”

The tales get darker and poorer quality as the collection progresses. You’ve been warned.

“Not if clever means the same in your world as in ours.”

Nice cover art by Arman Akopian. Indifferent to amateurish interior artwork by Oksana Dmitrienko & Orion Zangara.

“Men who argue don’t ever stop arguing.”

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Blackguards, J. M. Martin, Editor (Three Stars)

  1. Sounds like the worst of genre writing. That’s why I prefer literary works. Of course a bit of that I don’t enjoy.

    Like the painting of the red fox! Nice.

  2. We called her Fixie Loxie. She lived under our porch in the winter and in the bushes at Liberty Heights, a senior community next door, during the summer. She often traversed our yard to hunt. We saw her make a kill in the snow.
    That painting is from a photo I took through my office window.

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