From a child's struggles to control magical powers for the first time to the epic clashes of forces of good and evil on a titanic scale, here are 23 of the finest in contemporary and classic wizardry tales.
Bursting with the same magic that has brought a whole new following to fantasy, this anthology combines the excitement of the Harry Potter phenomenon with the appeal of Lord of the Rings, the ingenuity of the Discworld series and the adventure of the Conan stories. It features a range of light and dark fantasies - from quests, games and monsters, to wizards, witches, dark spells and even darker secrets - all obsessed with the use of magic in this world or the next.
Mike Ashley's masterly selection includes such precursors of the Potter series as 'The Sleuth-Worm' by Edith Nesbit, 'The Wall around the World' by Theodore Cogswell, 'Ged's Apprenticeship' by Ursula K. Le Guin and others that deal with the discovery of magic or apprenticeship into magic by ordinary folk. With plenty of specially commissioned new stories, it all adds up to a spellbinding bumper volume in which contributors include: Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, John Morressy, Theodore Sturgeon, John Jakes, Patricia McKillip, Esther Friesner, Louise Cooper, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Tom Holt and Charles de Lint.