EMERALD MAGIC: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy

Andrew M. Greeley, Editor . Tor $25.95 (364p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0504-6

It has been said that the Irish transformed English-speaking literature. This anthology may not reshape literature, but it is a sheer delight of grand storytelling. In 15 tales, 13 of which are original to the volume, a variety of modern seanachies (or storytellers), whether Irish by blood or only intention, are inspired by both modern culture and mythic legend to play upon the ancient Celtic theme of how closely the mundane exists with the magical. This parallel nature allows the Irish to serve the Christian God as well as the pagan sidhe, as they do in Judith Tarr's "The Hermit and the Sidhe," or a young man, in Elizabeth Haydon's "The Merrow," to discover himself heir to both the powerful magic of the sea and the magical land of Ireland. Editor Greeley, a Catholic priest, in "Peace in Heaven?" tells an earthy story of sidhe and seraphim that might make his bishop blush. Love can be a sorrowful thing, as it is in Jacqueline Carey's "The Isle of Women," or it can triumph over a vengeful spirit and the Grey Man himself, as in Charles de Lint's "The Butter Spirit's Tithe." Some stories are tinged with darkness, but have a favorable ending, like Tanith Lee's "Speir-Bahn," an eerie tale of shape-changing. Peter Tremayne, Diane Duane, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple also contribute worthy stories. Whether a true child of the Ould Sod or Irish only on St. Patrick's Day, the reader will find plenty to celebrate here. (Feb. 25)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4299-1237-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-7653-4423-6
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-7653-0505-3
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