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Sherwood Smith

Sherwood Smith(1951- )
Sherwood Smith began making books out of taped paper towels when she was five years old, and at eight began writing stories about another world full of magic and adventure — and hasn’t stopped yet. She has published more than two dozen books, ranging from space opera to children’s fantasy. She has collaborated with Andre Norton. Married more than twenty years (two kids, two dogs, and a house full of books), Ms. Smith is currently a part-time teacher as well as a writer. She lives in Southern California.

The FIREBIRDS Anthologies: Excellent short fiction for young adults

The FIREBIRDS anthologies edited by Sharyn November

Firebirds is the first of the three FIREBIRD anthologies edited by Sharyn November. Some people don’t like short stories, especially in anthologies where you are reading several different authors. I, however, almost always have a volume of short stories on my bedside table. Even if I manage to get no other reading done during a hectic day, it is a way for me to finish a whole story in 15-20 minutes. In an age where many authors seem incapable of writing anything other than multi-novel epics, it is a treasure to be able to enjoy a whole tale in one sitting.

Many collections of fantasy short stories are a compilation of hit or miss attempts to match a loosely defined theme for the volume. The Firebird Anthologies far exceed the industry standard. They are edited by Shar... Read More

Inda: A wonderful book

Inda by Sherwood Smith

Sherwood Smith’s Inda is such a wonderful book. To begin with, Smith has created a world full of all the details and history that many of us crave and so seldom find. Smith takes the time to do more than simply tell a story. She creates a really vibrant backdrop for the characters to act against and the result is something a cut above most of the fantasy being written today.

Inda (his actual name is Indevan-Dal) is the second son of a noble family. Sounds terribly cliché, I know. Inda’s lot in life is to be trained by his older brother as the head of defense for the family's castle. The social rules and traditions of his Marlovan heritage demand that his role be completely subordinate to his brother’s rule. Inda’s family history intensifies this because Inda’s father’s first wife was slaughtered by a pirate raid. The culture he is growing up in is very martial and based... Read More

The Fox: A quality sequel

The Fox by Sherwood Smith

After the high standards of Inda, the prequel to Sherwood Smith’s The Fox, it was next to impossible to be better this time. But, still, Smith delivers a quality second book in the series.

After the drama of the first book, Inda was left at sea after being forced from his homeland. Smith had really run Inda through a ragged race of events while growing him slowly into the man he would become. That process continues in The Fox. Inda remains, as always, the leader without an ego. He follows the impossible standard of leading from the front. As a weapon against pirates, that had been effective.

At home, the politics of selfishness and hunger for power continue to spiral towards an inevitable conclusion. Inda’s family continues to cope with the second and third order after-effects of unconscionable acts by m... Read More

A Sword Named Truth: A feast for Sartorias-deles fans

A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

Sherwood Smith has been writing fantasy novels and stories in her Sartorias-deles universe for over fifty years, since she was a child. The result is a literary edifice of incredible detail, scope and imagination, which has a large wiki (including several lengthy timelines) devoted to it. Sartorias-deles is a magical world in a different solar system, but there are gates between Sartorias-deles and our world that allow people (with the help of magic) to cross between the worlds. The prior novels are a mix of children’s, young adult and adult fiction.

A Sword Named Truth (2019) takes many pr... Read More

Time of Daughters: Excellent epic fantasy

Time of Daughters by Sherwood Smith

In Time of Daughters, Book One (2019), Sherwood Smith returns to the world of Sartorias-Deles, the setting for most of her fantasy novels. This epic tale, broken into two volumes, begins about a century after the INDA quartet of books about the historic Marlovan military commander. The country of Marlovan Iasca (later called Marloven Hess) is particularly noteworthy for the huge influence of the military in its society, amped up with a healthy side of political intriguing — including, on occasion, assassinations — and a social structure where marriage among those in the upper class is primarily for political purposes and strengthening alliances with other powerful families, and romantic love is typically found elsewhere.

Book One of Time of Daughters,... Read More

SHORTS: Yap, Howey, Livingston, Sullivan, Smith, Tarr

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. We'll put our favorites at the top.

The Oiran's Song" by Isabel Yap (2015, free at Uncanny Magazine)

"The Oiran's Song" is the tale of a young man who is sold into service with a traveling group of Japanese soldiers; this is a better fate than what befell his younger brother. It's also the tale of a young woman who entertains soldiers through various methods, traveling with them for as long as her services are required. It's also about human cruelty and kindness. It's about oni and snow and blood and vengeance and the fragility of hope. The brutality of war and human depravity are ever-present, but Yap never victimizes her characters: the terrible things which happen to ... Read More

It Happened at the Ball: 13 stories with ballroom settings

It Happened at the Ball edited by Sherwood Smith

This collection of thirteen (mostly) fantasy short stories and a novelette or two is tied together by their ballroom settings, whether it be the Almack’s Regency ballroom (where a group of young ladies happens upon an overly potent magical love potion in Marissa Doyle’s “Just Another Quiet Evening at Almack’s”) or a Civil War-era ball in Galveston, Texas (P.G. Nagle’s “A Waltz for May”). There are also some other themes that surface and resurface: masks and hidden identities, romance, and ― as editor and author Sherwood Smith freely admits in her foreword ― escapist wish-fulfillment. Here be faeries, vampires, thieves, pirates and lots of other intriguing character... Read More

More fantasy novels by Sherwood Smith

Exordium — (1993-1996) With Dave Trowbridge. Publisher: Smith and Trowbridge describe the flavor of their five-book space opera Exordium as a cross between Star Wars and Dangerous Liaisons with a touch of the Three Stooges. With its fast-moving blend of humor and horror, of high-tech skiffy and the deep places of the human heart, The Phoenix in Flight launches the reader into a complex, multi-layered universe as Brandon nyr-Arkad, dissolute youngest son of the ruler of the Thousand Suns, abandons the life of Service planned for him and flees into the lawless Rift. Only slowly does he discover that the world he rejected now lies in smoking ruins as the ritual vengeance of Jerrode Eusabian against Brandon’s father, twenty years in preparation, culminates in an explosion of interstellar violence. With both his brothers dead and his father the Panarch imprisoned, Brandon becomes the Panarchy’s last hope.

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The Crown & Court Duel — (1997) Set in the same world as Inda. A Stranger to Command is a prequel to Crown Duel which was originally published in two volumes (Crown Duel and Court Duel). Publisher: A girl in Remalna traditionally spends her Flower Day being feted, dancing with friends, and celebrating her passage to womanhood. Countess Meliara spends hers on the front lines of a war. She and her brother promised their dying father to free Remalna from the oppressive rule of Greedy Galdran and to preserve the vital Covenant with Remalna’s aloof, unhuman Hill People. Courageous, stubborn Meliara, honorable and sharp-tongued, is determined to win or die fighting.

Sherwood Smith A Stranger to Command: The Crown and Court Duel prequelbook review Sherwood Smith Crown Duel

Wren — (1990-1995) Young adult. Publisher: All her life Wren has hoped for an adventure. Now she has one — with a kidnapped princess, a handsome prince, and a magician. What does it matter if the princess is only Tess, her best friend from the orphanage; if the prince is a youngest son with no chance of becoming king; and the magician is an apprentice? Wren leads the other three over mountains and past killing spells, fighting battles along the way. But then she finds herself up against some shape-changing magic that may end her life as a human forever!

Sherwood Smith Wren to the Rescue Wren's Quest Wren's WarSherwood Smith Wren to the Rescue Wren's Quest Wren's WarSherwood Smith Wren to the Rescue Wren's Quest Wren's War

Oz — (2005-2016) Publisher: Meet Em and Dori, two modern-day descendants of Dorothy Gale (yes, THAT Dorothy), who follow in her famous footsteps to the magical land of Oz — and adventure. Dori loves reading all of the wonderful old Oz books, imagining what it would be like to meet the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. Her younger sister, Em, thinks that believing in Oz is for babies and that the magical snow globe Dori claims was left to them by Dorothy Gale is just an old souvenir. But when a tornado suddenly deposits the sisters in a place where unicorns hold beauty contests, Nome princes walk through solid rock, and magic takes care of daily chores, they realize they’re not in Kansas anymore. However, this is a new Oz, different in many ways from how it was when Dorothy traveled down the yellow brick road. Strange dark clouds hover over the Emerald City, Princess Ozma and her people are under an evil spell cast by Bastinda, the new Wicked Witch of the West, and Dorothy is nowhere to be found! It is up to Em and Dori to reverse the spell and save the people of Oz. But to do that they must get hold of the magic wand used to cast it — a wand that belongs to the wicked witch! Whether this is your first trip to Oz or you have visited many times before, prepare to be enchanted by Sherwood Smith’s fresh new adventure!

book review Sherwood Smith Oz 1. The Emerald Wizard 2. Trouble Under Ozbook review Sherwood Smith Oz 1. The Emerald Wizard 2. Trouble Under Oz

Sasharia en Garde! — (2008) Young adult. Publisher: Swashbuckling in a magic world — L.A. style! Sasha-s mother, Sun, was once swept away from a Ren Faire to another world by a prince-literally — but there was no happy ending. Sun-s prince disappeared, and a wicked king took the Khanerenth throne. In the years since, Sasha and Sun have been back on Earth and on the run. Mom and daughter don’t quite see eye to eye on the situation — Sasha wants to stand and fight. Sun insists her prince will return for them one day; it’s safer to stay hidden. Then Sasha is tricked into crossing the portal to Khanerenth. She’s more than ready to join the resistance, kick some bad-guy butt, and fix the broken kingdom. But — is the stylish pirate Zathdar the bad guy? Or artistic, dreamy Prince Jehan? Back on Earth, Sun is furious Sasha has been kidnapped. Sun might once have been a rotten princess, but nobody messes with Mom! Warning: This title contains a kick-butt mother-daughter team, a wicked king, a witty pirate with an unfortunate taste for neon colors, inept resistance fighters, a dreamy prince who gallops earnestly hither and yon, and a kick-butt princess in waiting.

Sasharia En Garde! 1. Once a Princess 2. Twice a PrinceSasharia En Garde! 1. Once a Princess 2. Twice a Prince

Coronets and Steel (Dobrenica) — (2010) Young adult. Publisher: In this new fantasy series, a young woman takes her own destiny by the hand — and the hilt. California girl Kim Murray is unsatisfied with grad school and restless in life. Modern men disappoint her, and she studies ballet and fencing because they remind her of older, more romantic times. She lives with her parents and her beloved but secretive aristocratic grandmother, who speaks only French and refuses to share stories about the mysterious family she left behind in Europe, inspiring Kim to travel there and find her roots. Kim soon finds herself swept up in an adventure of fantastic deceptions and passionate intrigue — and a shocking realization about her own bloodline that leaves her reeling.

fantasy book reviews Sherwood Smith Coronets and Steel 2. Blood Spirits 3. Revenant Evefantasy book reviews Sherwood Smith Coronets and Steel 2. Blood Spirits 3. Revenant Evefantasy book reviews Sherwood Smith Coronets and Steel 2. Blood Spirits 3. Revenant Eve

The Spy Princess — (2012) Publisher: When twelve-year-old Lady Lilah decides to disguise herself and sneak out of the palace one night, she has more of an adventure than she expected — for she learns very quickly that the country is on the edge of revolution. When she sneaks back in, she learns something even more surprising: her older brother Peitar is one of the forces behind it all. The revolution happens before all of his plans are in place, and brings unexpected chaos and violence. Lilah and her friends, leaving their old lives behind, are determined to help however they can. But what can four kids do? Become spies, of course!

The Spy Princessfantasy and science fiction book reviews

Stand-alone novels:

Sherwood Smith SenridSenrid — (2007) A young adult novel set in the same world as Inda and Crown and Court. Publisher: SENRID is a story of swashbuckling boys and girls, royal stakes, mysterious villains, high adventure and strange magic, set in the universe of CROWN DUEL and INDA, in the tradition of Lloyd Alexander’s WESTMARK and Megan Whalen Turner’s THE THIEF. Teen-aged king Leander Tlennen-Hess has barely ruled a year when he and his step-sister Kitty (or Princess Kyale, as she wishes to be known) are surprised by two visitors. The first is an adventure-loving girl, Faline, who helps Leander defend his tiny kingdom from invasion by the menacing warrior kingdom Marloven Hess, using only imagination and a bit of magic. The second visitor is a nice, friendly boy… who asks too many questions about the recent defeat of those evil Marlovens. The nice, friendly visitor turns out to be Senrid, king of Marloven Hess. But Senrid is king in name only. His uncle, the regent, holds power and Senrid must prove himself to be sufficiently strong by abducting for execution the two kids who thwarted the invasion. The only way to save them is to enter the stronghold of the enemy, in flimsy disguise…

Sherwood Smith A Posse of Princesses, The Trouble With KingsA Posse of Princesses — (2008) A romantic fantasy for young adults set in the same world as Wren. Publisher: Rhis, princess of a small kingdom, is invited along with all the other princesses in her part of the world to the coming of age party of the Crown Prince of Vesarja, which is the central and most important kingdom. When Iardith, the prettiest and most perfect of all the princesses, is abducted, Rhis and her friends go to the rescue. What happens to Rhis and her posse has unexpected results not only for the princesses, but for the princes who chase after them. Everyone learns a lot about friendship and hate, politics and laughter, romantic ballads and sleeping in the dirt with nothing but a sword for company. But most of all they learn about the many meanings of love.

Sherwood Smith A Posse of Princesses, The Trouble With KingsThe Trouble with Kings — (2008) A romantic fantasy set in the same world as Inda and Crown and Court. Publisher: Princess Flian finds herself the unwilling object of desire of three royals. Is the one she wants a villainor a hero? Waking up in a strange place, Flian Elandersi at first doesnt know who she is. One wicked prince tells her she is secretly engaged to an even more wicked king who wants to marry her right away. But before that happens, yet another wicked prince crashes through a window on horseback to sweep her off her feet. Memory returns, and Flian realizes that all any of them seem to want is her considerable wealth, not her pleasant-but-ordinary self. She longs to escape the barracks-like, military atmosphere and return to civilization and her musical studies. Flian endures another abduction, this time in the middle of a poetry reading. Who is the villain? Prince Garian Herlesterlanguid, elegant, sarcastic? Prince Jaimhe of the dashing horsemanship? Or King Jason Szinzar, whose ambiguous warning might be a threat? Flian decides its time to throw off civilization and take action. The problem with action is that duels of wit turn into duels of steeland love can’t be grabbed and galloped away.