This collection is gathered around a single theme—that of a child or teen warrior. Giving its contributors a wide berth, the editors have permitted a flourishing of some fabulous ideas.
As is nearly always true of such things, however, the stories range widely in focus and power. Some are dark: Holly Black`s 'Heartless,' wherein a girl who scavenges from the fallen in battle at last finds death too much; some are gentle and funny, like Esther Friesner`s spirited and tough young Helen of Troy or Mike Resnick`s truce between boy and dragon. Tamora Pierce herself offers the origins of the Shang Unicorn from her Lioness stories, and Margaret Mahy`s tale of a magician and his unexpected warrior surprises and delights. One of the strongest entries is by Lesley McBain, who expertly weaves a circle of Irish Celtic magic around a refugee from the Holocaust. Each story is followed by a paragraph of biography for its author.
Pierce energetically writes the introduction and Sherman offers a few historical bits about young warriors in the afterword. (Short stories/fantasy. 12+)
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