I read and have read a lot of anthologies. They’re great for “in-between-books-reading” and are perfect when you just want a story that you can start and finish in one sitting. Anthologies are also a great source for sampling different writers.
Jason M Waltz did a great job of picking out the stories to use for The Return of the Sword. Except for only one or two stories (even the ones that weren’t particularly something to my personal taste) I found these to be very well and interestingly written.
The Return of the Sword contains twenty sword-and-sorcery tales — too many for me to summarize and rate individually here. I’d say most of the stories fall between 3 and 4 stars, but my personal favorites — “The Battle of Raven Kill” by Jeff Draper, “To Be A Man” by (FanLit’s own) Robert Rhodes, “The Hand that Holds The Crown” by Nathan Meyer, and “The Mask Oath” by Steve Goble are each an easy 5 stars and then some. In fact, I’d buy this book for those stories alone. And I’d venture to say that most any fan of fantasy literature will find something to their liking in this book.
I highly recommend The Return of the Sword to anyone who appreciates a straight-forward adventurous tale, and I applaud the effort to present some quality sword & sorcery tales in a market where the sub-genre seems all but forgotten. I hope more publishers will follow suit and give us more new S & S books.