The best of heroic fantasy short fiction is being brought to readers today by Rogue Blades Entertainment, and the publishing company doesn’t disappoint with its latest release, Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology. Within the 224 pages can be found 28 short stories of sword-slinging action, demonic villains, dastardly wizards and heroic warriors battling it out with the forces of evil.
Among all the stories, there is not one stinker. All bring a different take on the demonic subject matter within the genre of heroic fantasy. Some stories are stronger than others, however, and three in particular are favorites.
The Sacrifice, by Jason Irrgang
Three strong warriors, all members of a religious clan but different from one another, stand toe to toe against the ultimate evil. Can they survive against such seemingly unstoppable power, let alone win? This fine tale provides the answer, but it is not a simplistic answer and it is one that comes with sacrifice, thus the title. This tale, perhaps stronger than any other in this collection, examines the bonds of brotherhood in combat. Quite surprisingly, this was writer Jason Irrgang’s first published short story. With such talent, more can be expected from him in the future.
Born Warriors, by TW Williams
Perhaps the darkest of the stories collected here, “Born Warriors” is a tale of a military leader given a choice in his and his men’s own fates. He has lead his unit into strange, foreign lands where they have become lost, and to escape those lands this captain is tempted by the offerings of a demon. What will he decide? And once his decision is made, what will be the outcome? It is quite the unexpected ending, and veers into horror literature. Author TW Williams has numerous stories published in print and digital markets, and it’s understandable why after reading this tale.
By Hellish Means, by Bill Ward
Imagine a world having been overrun by demons. That is the type of world found in this story. There are few places to hide, and those are safe only temporarily. Monsters roam the land tearing and slashing and eating everyone in site. But within this land remains one last hero, a woman who is the final survivor of a cult of priestesses who have sworn to stand to the last against the demonic foes. She brings skill, power and a quick blade to the war against evil, but will that be enough? The ending brings about a nice surprise, but it doesn’t necessarily leave the reader with a feeling of hope. But that’s not a bad thing. That’s the type of story this is. Only someone as skilled as Bill Ward, the Contributing Editor to Black Gate magazine who is known for many published fantasy stories, could have pulled off such a marvelous story. Well told!
There are plenty of other great tales to be found within the pages of Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology, and Rogue Blades Entertainment also has to offer several other short story collections of fantasy literature as well as upcoming other projects. If you have a yearning for some action reading, turn to Rogue Blades Entertainment. You won’t be disappointed.