A collection of dark fantasy tales with a metaphysical edge, full of grotesque wonders and weird splendor. Artifice the Quill flees from tyrant sorcerers into a world of strange magic, ancient gods, and exotic kingdoms. The exiled author joins a traveling troupe of performers known as the Glimmer Faire, where he learns the magical power of art and the art of magical power. These Twelve Tales of the Continent alternate between the exploits of Artifice and the adventures of Taizo the Rogue, a master of skullduggery who sparks a rebellion in the name of bloody vengeance.
The Lost Gods of Narr were displaced a century ago by the Sorcerer Kings, a council of dictators who rule the Golden City with necromancy, alchemy, and terror. The mysterious folk of the Red Isle foster dissension in Narr by smuggling their enchanted goods into the city, while the ancient Zang Forest expands itself across the lands of men, devouring farms and towns as it reaches to smother the wicked city. Now that the Lost Gods are returning to destroy the world, only Artifice, Taizo, and a small band of rebels have any hope of preventing the apocalypse. Seven of these interrelated stories are previously unpublished, including "Spilling the Blood of the World," the novelette which brings the entire Zang Cycle to a staggering finale.
Praise for the Zang Cycle stories:
"Fultz tells us a wonderful tale in 'The Persecution of Artifice the Quill.' Artifice is a writer in a city dominated by sorcerers. He runs afoul of them because he wrote a book called 'The End of Sorcery.' In just 12 pages, Fultz tells us what we need to know about this world and also provides a good story, quite an accomplishment." —SFRevu
"In this dark, sparkling little fantasy ['The Vintages of Dream'], a thief sets out to rob a sorcerer who possesses a large number of expensive glass bottles in which he has captured his dreams." —SF Site
"When the Glimmer Faire Came to the City of the Lonely Eye" is "a prosaic piece, filled with vivid descriptions that make it easy to imagine the characters, their surroundings, and… the words here are carefully chosen so as to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing the attention they draw to themselves. At its simplest, this is an enjoyable adventure that reveals the power of art and artists." —Tangent Online
"The real interest [in 'Glimmer Faire'] is not so much in Artifice himself as in the head of the troupe, Mordeau, whose sorcery enhances the stagecraft and effects, so that even a god can be moved." —Locus
"Fultz begins 'Return of the Quill' with a terrific opening scene… Treachery and clever intrigue follow as Fultz cleverly works out his dark tale's rewarding conclusion." —Tangent Online
"…a powerful tale filled with imaginative and satisfying S&S goodness; meanwhile, Fultz never loses sight of the fact that even necromantic geeks have feelings. ['Return of the Quill'] was my favorite story of the issue." —SF Site