“From the ridiculous to the sublime to the downright heartfelt and — at some instances — mildly terrifying, Ventrella’s collection promises you that in Fortannis, anything and everything is up for grabs.” — Tee Morris, author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series
“A Bard Day’s Knight is the third anthology of stories in Michael Ventrella’s world of Fortannis, a fantasy world that is both clearly part of the high fantasy tradition in its general makeup, but incorporates Ventrella’s own touch to make it a much more living world, with its own traditions, a broad assortment of inhabitants ranging from furry, catlike gorbe to the more familiar humans, elves, and dwarves – though even the most familiar will have their own unique twists to offer.
Though the title is humorous, readers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that this is parody or comedy; while many stories have a lighthearted touch to them, others do not, and almost all of them have strongly serious elements.
The fourteen stories in this anthology compare, overall, very well with those in the prior anthologies; this is, in fact, the strongest of the three, with only one story that I felt was overall a weak tale, and the others ranging from quite good to brilliant.
What is really fascinating about an anthology like this is seeing what the world of Fortannis looks like through eyes with so many different perspectives. Old familiar friends are here – Ventrella’s own squires Terin and Darlissa, Curso Brambletoes the clever, subtle hobling, exiled sellsword Sarlon and his companions Minnow and Mumblepeg – and new ones, including a unique view of the life of a rather unusual Goblin in “Shiny Savior”, the eponymous and clever hero of “The Life and Death of Beryl Truesword”, Brenlund in “Blinded” who has to overcome his preconceptions to save both himself and others from a terrible fate.
Most of the stories have strong voices – the characters that must drive the story quickly define themselves, telling us who they are and why they matter, whether they are noble, poor, human, goblin, warrior or sorceror – and the challenges they overcome loom large within the stories, whether they are threats to many or merely the problem of day-to-day survival.
The last anthology I think I gave four stars; this one is easily four and a half, perhaps five; I had a lot of fun reading A Bard Day’s Knight, and anyone who enjoys fantasy adventure should too!” – Ryk Spoor, author of Grand Central Arena and Phoenix Rising
“There were so many nostalgic references in this collection that how could I not find it charming? If you were a fan of ‘The Bard’s Tale’ video game, how could you not have those memories evoked by the title? Also, the Beatles reference in the title, as well as the ‘Abbey Road’ positioning of the characters cracked me up.
This is a collection of fantasy short stories that are of a pretty standard archetypal nature. They all take place in a ‘shared world’ setting of Fortannis. This is my first visit to Fortannis, but this collection concept reminded me both of the ‘Myth’ books, by Robert Asprin, as well as the ‘Hell’ series edited by Janet Morris.
Like all short story collections, the contents are a mixed bag varying from very good to solid. If you’re looking to discover the work of some new writers, this would be a great place to start. I think you’ll find this volume to be plenty entertaining.” – Walter Rhein