cover image A Sorcerer of Atlantis, with A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts

A Sorcerer of Atlantis, with A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts

John Shirley. Hippocampus, $20 trade paper (306p) ISBN 978-1-61498-332-3

In A Sorcerer of Atlantis, the diverting short novel that’s the centerpiece of this fantasy pairing from Shirley (In Extremis), Brimm, a would-be sorcerer, and his companion, Snoori, are lured to Atlantis by Princess Cleito’s promise of gold to whoever can slay a minor demon on her behalf. Upon arrival they quickly find that things are not as they seem: the offer of gold is false, Cleito turns out to be a particularly nasty demon herself, and dark deeds are afoot. Brimm and Snoori soon become embroiled with dark magic, rival gods, spirits of the dead, and the menacing People of the Deep, all of which foreshadow the destruction of Atlantis itself. In the novella “A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts,” Kerrin Kim, a Korean American from New Jersey, is murdered and awakens to find he’s a prince in the afterlife, where his father, also murdered, has ruled as king. As prince, Kerrin must assume responsibility for both solving his and his father’s murders and dealing with a threat to the spirit realm of which they’re a part. A brisk pace and distinctive characters make up for the lack of anything groundbreaking in these two tales. Fans of L. Sprague de Camp’s lighter sword and sorcery fantasies will be pleased. (June)