Winner of the WordWeaving Award for Excellence: The stories and poems in this fantasy collection explore the enchanted realms of the imagination—and our universal need for love and acceptance
The title character of Nebula Award finalist “The Boy Who Plaited Manes” is a nameless mute at a royal stable who teaches his abusive noble master an unforgettable lesson. Gage undergoes a transformation in the “Bard” as he strums a silver harp and dreams of horses and a lost love. In “Bright-Eyed Black Pony,” the reclusive sorcerer Wystan devises a plan to help a despairing young prince. Pregnant wife Lin Burke has just moved to a backwater coal town in Pennsylvania and is about to meet her very unusual neighbor in “Primal Cry.” The title story is told in two parts: “Chance” and “The Golden Face of Fate.” As Lord’s Warden, it is the orphaned bastard Chance’s job to keep the vast forest of Wirral safe from poachers, spies, and the occasional murderer. But other creatures dwell here. They are the Denizens, whose tiny faces disappear in the blink of an eye, and who are never spoken of by name. They see and know all, including the truth about Chance’s love for the beautiful, unattainable Lady Halimeda—and the final, terrible secret of Wirral.
Other pieces feature female wolves, dog-kings, and sun kings. In poems and prose of grief and atonement, hope, healing, and lost faith, Springer mines the magic that makes us human.