cover image After the War: Two Tales of Noreela

After the War: Two Tales of Noreela

Tim Lebbon, . . Subterranean, $35 (150pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-139-2

Noreela, the postapocalyptic world that serves as the setting for Lebbon's fantasy-horror hybrids Dusk and Dawn , is the backdrop for the two loosely plotted novellas that make up this collection. In “Vale of Blood Roses,” a former soldier finds himself haunted by the crimes of his past when survivors track him down and threaten his family with a gruesome form of death-in-life if he won't help them find their way home. “The Bajuman” blends high fantasy with hard-boiled detection in its account of a bounty hunter who partners with a warrior mercenary to rescue a kidnapped “fodder,” or member of a race traditionally bred for food. Whereas the first of these tales is indisputably fantastic in terms of its imagery and set pieces, the second reads like a straight crime caper set in an exotic land. In each, Lebbon vividly describes the landscape and local color. Readers who have enjoyed other books in the Noreela series will find these tales a tide-me-over until the next full-length novel. (Feb.)