SMITH, CLARK ASHTON – THE EMPEROR OF DREAMS. 2002. Fantasy Masterworks #26. Gollancz Books.
Fifth selection of stories to review from this stunning. Collection. The Black Abbot Of Puthuum features a group of soldiers sent to escort a beautiful potential queen through a perilous desert for marriage purposes. The party gets to the girl easily enough, but as they come back, a terrible circle of darkness, in which a whole army of demons is hidden, traps them. They are then invited by a mysterious, evil dark skinned abbot to be his guest (prisoner). The abbot is an incubus with designs on the girl, but the soldiers discover his secrets and destroy him. They then decide to draw lots to decide which of the should take the girl, who they no longer wish to hand over tot heir King. The girl chooses her lover for herself. In The Treader In The Dust a man foolishly invokes an ancient demon with the power to induce premature ageing. Shocked by the beginnings of the corruption in his servant, and his house, the man flees. Three days later, he steels himself to go back, and sees the house covered in dust as if centuries old. Much that he touches crumbles to dust, chairs, sections of wall, etc. He knows he is doomed, and watches helplessly as the dust demon comes for him. Only his own footprints give any clue to his wherabouts when the dilapidated once proud house is discovered. In The Flower Women, a bored omnipotent sorceror sees a group of women who are vampires but who grow from the ground like flowers. He sees them plucked and raped by a group of lizard like beings with some powerful magic of their own. The sorceror travels to their world, destroying the lizards in an epic magic-battle, and goes home. The Weaver In The Vault is one of Smith’s weaker stories. A group of soldiers are sent to find the tomb of the mummified remains of the founder member of their Empire. They find a tomb in which the mummies have been devoured by a mysterious orb, which spins a web around the living soldiers, killing each in turn to devour them too. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/clark-ashton-smith/
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
FACEBOOK - http://profile.to/arthurchappell/