Storybundle has a special offer on an historical fantasy collection curated by Melissa Scott.
In this collection I’ve been able to bring together an extraordinary group of writers who draw their inspiration from Western history, in periods from Ancient Egypt through the Second World War. There are classics like the World Fantasy Award-nominated Lord of the Two Lands and the Nebula-nominated Death of the Necromancer, and newer novels like Daughter of Mystery and The Emperor’s Agent— and Stag and Hound, just released in April. What these novels have in common, across these very different periods, is a depth to and delight in their worlds, in the precise detail and pitch-perfect moment that not only propels the story, but makes it utterly, dazzlingly real.
— Melissa Scott in her introduction to the bundle
Perhaps my favourite (not just for the title) is Geonn Cannon’s The Virtuous Feats of the Indomitable Miss Trafalgar and the Erudite Lady Boone. Just consider this excerpt:
In London’s alleys and byways she learned how to steal, how to fight, how to use magic, and how to avoid being detected by the police. Her hands were quick, her mind quicker, and she quickly started earning her keep with the other thieves and hoodlums occupying London’s demimonde.
Her life changed the day she noticed Dorothy Boone out for a stroll. She was walking briskly, her clothes indicating a modest salary but there was no denying she was wealthy. Her shabbiness was far too contrived to be real, and she wore a pocket watch that anyone truly destitute would have pawned ages ago. Beatrice followed at a safe distance until she discovered the woman’s residence. She waited until Dorothy left again, then found a way inside.
It was the mother lode. Even before she discovered the armory, before she even knew there was a second or third wing to the home, she was trying to figure out which antiques she could carry away and which she would have to come back for later. She sincerely hoped there would be a later. Artifacts, artwork, an array of gewgaws she couldn’t begin to identify… Part of her feared that the things she saw were invaluable, which would be useless if she couldn’t find someone willing to buy them from her.
She was still doing reconnaissance when she picked up what looked like an ordinary stone tablet to see what was inscribed on the face of it. Her lips formed the unusual words carved on the face of it as she tried to make sense of it. It was a moment before she realized her arms had become unusually stiff, and her body had acquired a new weight that made her feel anchored to the floor. She managed to unfold her arms to put the tablet down, but the damage had already been done. Her legs wouldn’t move her farther than a few steps, and her hands froze on the way up so she could see the gray stone spreading across her flesh.
The bundle is available until August 10th or thereabouts.