THE FISH THE FIGHTERS AND THE SONG-GIRL by Janet Morris and Chris Morris

The Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl contains the first new novella from the author of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons stories and novels in 25 years! To those of us who followed Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons through the Thieves’ World shared universe series and then off on his own in the Sacred Band ‘Beyond’ novels, having new material to devour is absolutely the greatest treat imaginable. New characters are introduced, some who had joined the band from The Sacred Band of Thebes in “The Sacred Band” written in 2010, wherein Tempus goes back in time to rescue the 23 pairs of fighters whose remains were not contained in the cenotaph erected to honor the Sacred Band of Thebes, where they were killed, to a man, in the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C. Some new characters enter the picture directly in ‘the Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl” and we are treated to some new information about some new and some older characters.

Tempus takes the band north out of Sanctuary, he hopes for the last time, and uses the journey to help the newer members become assimilated into the new United Sacred Band of Stepsons, and so he can also get to know these new members a little better. Since this book additionally contains a number of short stories originally appearing in Thieves’ World, the author has employed a unique form of integration by writing interstitials that continue the story of the new journey and bring the older information into the book in a cohesive format that new or old readers should really enjoy.

The writing in this book displays the finest standards of Janet Morris and her husband, Chris Morris, when exploring the character Tempus and allowing the reader to see into his motivations and learn more about this amazing group of warriors. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for lovers of fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction and epic fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this new book and the old stories as they were set within the framework of explaining to the newer members of the band how certain things came about, before they encountered the band.

New or old readers of The Sacred Band and Thieves’ World will not be disappointed!


BEYOND SANCTUARY by Janet Morris [First of The Sacred Band “Beyond” novels]

Beyond Sanctuary was the first authorized novel spinoff from the “Thieves’ World(r)” series in the mid-1980s. This is an absolutely beautiful Author’s Cut release with some new material and revisions the author had wanted to make for a couple of decades, and a gorgeous new cover! This represents the first new release in the “Beyond” series – Beyond the Veil and Beyond Wizardwall will also be released over the next year or so.  Beyond Sanctuary begins the “Beyond” series with Tempus and the Sacred Band leaving Sanctuary to travel to Tyse, join with allies from the earlier war in which Tempus helped overthrow the ruler of Ranke, and then assault the mages ruling from Wizardwall who hold three countries hostage to their powers. There is great action involved and viewpoints from both the Sacred Band and the mages and witches, making this a truly riveting book you do not want to put down. The ethos of the Sacred Band is explored and described on a basic level, and some of the continuing characters in the Sacred Band stories begin to come into their own. An excellent read with more to come!

Highly recommended.