Humans are fascinated by the past. Some eras that really draw people are the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Many people spend weekends dressing up to attend recreations of these fairs, involved in various aspects of a fair whether for pleasure or a serious pursuit. These fairs form the main theme of the Fantasy anthology _Renaissance Faire_ edited by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe. All the stories are set in these types of fairs with fantasy elements. Ranging from humorous to serious, readers can find many entertaining stories in the book.
The anthology opens with the humorous story of “Jewels Beyond Price” by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Daniel is a jewelry maker, selling his creations at a Faire. He is plagued by arrogant customers that do not pay him for his stuff. Things change when he acquires the genie Habib. The wishes Daniel makes changes things and make this story a combination of a humorous and sometimes serious story. Ms. Scarborough provides a good story with nice characters that leads to a satisfyi ng ending.
“Splinter” by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta is a Christian Fantasy. The main character, Wil, is a pick pocket thief. He goes to Renaissance Faires in order to steal from the patrons. Wil tries stealing a valuable treasure from an elderly storyteller, but gets pricked in his finger. After, every time he tries to steal something, he falls down in excruciating pain. He keeps experiencing things and returns to the story teller to discover his plight. The authors use the Christian element of the Cross to tell a compelling story that changes people.
Fairies play a part in the story “Wimpin’ Wady” by Jayge Carr. A two year old girl, Lottie, attends a Faire with her parents. The little girl loves fairies. She is stolen by a young fairy and taken to the land of fairy due to his being lonely. The parents, other people and a friend search for the missing child. Jennet, the limping lady, risks losing her ability to walk searching for Lottie. An entertaining story of likable characters is provided b y the author for readers to enjoy.
Esther M. Friesner is a master author of humor. “Marriage A La Modred” is a humorous story of strange happenings. Renaissance Faires have characters that ply roles. Bethany Barre is singled out by a friar to be married in a mock wedding to a complete stranger. Her brother Vic makes jokes about the situation, further embarrassing Bethany. Events propel Bethany into a binding marriage with an elf king. Vic must save his sister from her magical fate. Readers will enjoy the hu mor of a fantastic situation created by the author’s vivid description and funny characters.
A man visits a Renaissance Faire that is set up in the place he played games with his best friend Dalton as a child. He tells the story of how he went blind in one eye and other events in flashbacks while taking part in a mock battle at the Faire. “The Land of the Awful Shadow” by Brian A. Hopkins explains how the blinded eye changed the boy’s life. The author writes a memorable tale with vivid descriptions of a fascinating childhood that affects the characters as adults.
_Renaissance Faire_ edited by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe is an entertaining Fantasy anthology based on the theme of modern day Renaissance Faires. Readers will discover stories ranging from humorous to dark fantasy. The stories bring to life these weekend excursions into the past by adding magic. Some memorable stories makes this anthology worth a reader’s time.