The reader's heart does not easily decide in which world of Hernstrom's to homestead. The sea elf's expansive beach just beyond the broken tombs and stunted trees? Or under the red and green moons of the lands where the Ige roam? The exact locale is of less importance than the weird and dire contests he will discover therein. Hernstrom, like his characters, shares a vision quickened by instinct and the will win the field. For none ofthe five original pieces or the three new ones, published here for the first time in this new edition, really admits for settlers. Surely, one will witness hordes, beasts, storms, hard rides for a dark timberline, eldritch visions not witnessed since Howard or Ashton Smith or Vance strode the earth. Hernstrom feeds on an autochtone rage, speaks directly but not simply in tones strong enough to convey sibilant victory or the clamor of disaster. Somehow he also manages to imbue dark tales with a mordant wit many admire, but few can match. He sings no simple paean. He tells no careworn tale. He advances no fallen guidon but has instead fashioned his own standard from those of the fallen. A contemporary reader can instantly mark the salient staked out by this collection across a no-man's land mired in imitation. Hernstrom's flag is one to which stout hearts rally. This book is a passport to new country, a point of departure for even wider vistas. Here is a voice which can tell of beauty in a moment, a heretofore unremarked weirdness in the old constellations, a sly joke. Here is a voice up for anything.