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Previous SFF Author: Brian Stableford

SFF Author: Michael A. Stackpole

fantasy literature author Michael Stackpole(1957- )
Michael A. Stackpole has won awards in the realms of podcasting, game designer, computer game design, screenwriting, editing, graphic novel writing and novel writing. He lives in Arizona and frequently travels the United States attending conventions and teaching writing workshops. He also writes Star Wars and Battletech sci/fi novels. Learn more at Michael A. Stackpole’s website.


The DragonCrown War Cycle: Fanboy fantasy at its very worst


I enjoyed The Dark Glory War, the prequel to The Dragoncrown War Cycle trilogy, a fair amount. That being said, the story took a steady downhill slide from there.

It is pure fanboy fantasy, and at its very worst. These heroes have all the personality of mud. The men are all “humble” and act completely shocked to find themselves in the roles of heroes. And the women are downright offensive. These strong, proud, independent women, who turn into docile,

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A Secret Atlas: Slow in places, solid start

A Secret Atlas by Michael A. Stackpole

A Secret Atlas has its flaws, but overall makes for a solidly enjoyable read, especially as it generally (with some exceptions) improves as one moves through it.

The story begins in Nalenyr, one of the “Nine Principalities”, the divided remnants of an empire that along with much of the known world was brought to near ruin centuries earlier in the Great Cataclysm. The novel focuses most of its attention on the Anturasi family, whose patriarch Qiro has the Talent (capital T intentional) of mapmaking.

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Cartomancy: Fun middle book ends in a cliffhanger

Cartomancy by Michael A. Stackpole

It’s not uncommon for the second book in a fantasy trilogy to suffer the middle-book syndrome — a transition novel that doesn’t live up to the quality of the preceding volume but is essential in appreciating the third. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with Cartomancy, the sequel to A Secret Atlas.

In fact, Cartomancy is more exciting because Michael Stackpole planted the seeds in the first novel and what you get here is all the action and excitement.

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The New World: Lots of action

The New World by Michael A. Stackpole

Retaining the suspense and excitement of the previous book, The New World brings to a close the epic The Age of Discovery series. Michael A. Stackpole’s characterization and sense of timing remain his strengths, as well as his ability to deliver the unexpected to readers.

The New World features lots of action and combat scenes, as well as the usual elements of epic fantasy including honor, betrayal, and a climactic battle. The novel kept me on the edge of my seat,

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At the Queen’s Command: A fantasy twist on the American Revolutionary War

At the Queen’s Command by Michael A. Stackpole

It’s 1763, and the Crown Colonies of Mystria are in turmoil. Unwillingly, they are becoming the new battleground in the ongoing war between their colonial master Norisle and their rivals, the Tharyngians, after the ongoing conflict on the continent of Auropa. Simultaneously, some Mystrians are beginning to feel that the young colonies don’t owe allegiance to the distant Norillian queen anymore, with underground texts that advocate independence growing in popularity.

If all of this doesn’t sound familiar yet, just change Norisle to England,

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Of Limited Loyalty: Sluggish

Of Limited Loyalty  by Michael A. Stackpole

Of Limited Loyalty is Michael Stackpole’s second book in the CROWN COLONIES series, set in an alternate version of our world where magic exists and dragons and other creatures are real, but politics and other social conditions evolved much as they did in reality.

In the previous installment, At the Queen’s Command, we were introduced to Owen Strake, a young Officer sent to Mystria and serving the Crown Governor Prince Vladimir. Owen is so noble at times that it almost hurts.

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Steampunk’d: Uneven, not recommended

Steampunk’d by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg

Steampunk’d is an anthology edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg. The most common premise of steampunk is an idea that technology — steam-driven technology — went in a different direction during the Victorian era. The best steampunk stories create a sense of otherness, a truly different world, while some tales just dangle steampunk tropes like jewelry or fashion accessories.

I’m a cautious consumer of themed anthologies because the work can be uneven,

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Next SFF Author: A.M. Stanley
Previous SFF Author: Brian Stableford

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February 2024