Lucius Shepard is a grand master of dark fantasy, famed for his baroque yet utterly contemporary visions of existential subversion and hallucinatory collapse. In Dagger Key, his fifth major story collection, Shepard confronts hard-bitten loners and self-deceiving operators with the shadowy emptiness within themselves and the insinuating darkness without, to ends sardonic and terrifying. The stories in this book, including six novellas, are:
"Stars Seen Through Stone" - in a small Pennsylvania town, mediocrity suddenly blossoms into genius; but at what terrible cost
"Emerald Street Expansions" - in near-future Seattle, echoes of the life of a medieval French poet hint at either reincarnation or a dire conspiracy.
"Limbo" - a retired criminal on the run from the Mafia encounters ghosts, and much worse, on the shores of a haunted lake.
"Liar's House" - in the grip of the legendary dragon Griaule, destiny is a treacherous and transformative thing.
"Dead Monty" - a small-time New Orleans criminal ventures outside his proper territory, and poker and voudoun conspire to bring him down.
"Dinner at Baldassaro's" - a gang of immortals debates the future in an Italian resort, only for events to outrun any of their expectations.
"Abimagique" - a glib college loser falls in love with a witch, becoming an involuntary part of a world-saving - or world-destroying - magical ritual.
"The Lepidopertrist" - a small boy on a Caribbean island witnesses the creation of preternatural beings by a Yankee wizard...
"Dagger Key" - off the coast of Belize, the ghost of a famous pirate seems to control a spiral of murder and intrigue; or is someone else responsible
Lucius Shepard (1947 - 2014)
Lucius Shepard was born in the USA in 1947. From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s he lived in various parts of the world and travelled widely. He won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in 1985 and also won the World Fantasy Award twice. He died in 2014.