Book Cover
Title Daughter of Regals & Other Stories
Series ---
Author Stephen R. Donaldson
Cover Art Michael Whelan
Publisher Ballantine Books - 1984
First Printing Ballantine Books - 1984
Category Anthology
Warnings None

Main Characters

See below

Main Elements See below

  • "Daughter of Regals"
  • "Gilden-Fire"
  • "Mythological Beast"
  • "The Lady in White"
  • "Animal Lover"
  • "Unworthy of the Angel"
  • "The Conqueror Worm"
  • "Ser Vinal's Tale"

Stephen Donaldson was immediately recognized as a master of epic fantasy with the publication of this first trilogy, The Chronicles of Thoman Covenant, The Unbeliever. His fame grew as The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant climbed higher and higher on the hardcover bestseller lists with the publication of each successive volume, the most recent being White Gold Wielder.

Now Donaldson turns his hand - and his remarkable imagination - to the short story form. Daughter of Regals & Other Tales is a glittering collection of short fiction containing eight stories - including two novellas written especially for this edition.

Daughter of Regals - A fantasy novella concerning a unique royal line and an unusual conception of magic.

The Conqueror Worm - A deliciously creepy "horror" piece in which havoc is wreaked by one lowly centipede.

Ser Visal's Tale - Beginning as a simple story told over several flagons of wine at the local inn, this novella ends with a surprising twist.

Gilden-Fire - The famous chapter about Korik of the Bloodguard and his mission to Seareach that was part of the original manuscript of The Illearth War, but omitted from the published version.

With these, plus four more stories - each as entertaining and unique as those already described - Stephen Donaldson again proves the breadth of his talent and the range of his narrative skill.

So I had read the entire 10 volume Thomas Covenant chronicles, and figured after achieving that I should at the very least hunt down Gilden-Fire to claim I had read the whole thing. And with some luck, I stumbled across a $2 hardcover copy of Daughter of Regals in a used bookstore!

As with any anthology, there are the good and the bad, and those that had so much potential but didn't quite reach it. Donaldson wanted to explore different genres and different styles, some classical and others unique to him, and in that he succeeded.

So of course I enjoyed Gilden-Fire, it filled a gap in the Illearth War, though as Donaldson explained, it couldn't have been made part of the book. The idea behind the Covenant Chronicles was whether the Land was real or not. And if we have an entire chapter from the point of view of one of the characters, that would make it "Real", especially if Covenant is not present, after all he was convinced it was all in his head, and events shouldn't occur when he isn't there to bear witness to it. But now that I've read all the books, it was nice to see another perspective, especially the alien one of the Bloodguard.

Daughter of Regals was a novella, a kind of Game of Thrones in fact, though written long before Martin penned his epic series. After all, this game has been played in real life for centuries. It was a world that had an extremely unique magic system, of things that were magic and then Real, and the rest was all just illusion...though that seemed to include pretty much everything, including the people. It was a bit hard to wrap my mind around this concept of Real and illusion since there were only a handful of objects and characters that would be considered Real. Overall, I thought this would have been a great novella if I could just understand it better.

I liked Mythological Beast. Now I found it quite disturbing at times, it being a dystopic society where people appeared to have stopped thinking for themselves, figuring out if they were OK or not by checking a biomitter on their wrist, it pretty much ran everything they did. But then Norman started growing a horn in the middle of his forehead...yes, he was turning into a unicorn. At first he was a little worried but then saw a picture of one, discovered that he was becoming beautiful and then looked forward to it. But he knew it was only a matter of time before this biomitter stopped saying he was ok and notifying the authorities that something was wrong...

The Lady in White is a classical "test" tale, where a character needs to pass tests to see if he is worthy of the final prize. It was enjoyable but it didn't stand out that much for me.

Animal Lover tell of a future earth where hunting is confined to "Hunting Preserves" but one in particular has attracted the attention of authorities and Agent Sam Browne is sent to investigate. There he finds a freakish horror of genetically engineered and physically modified animals to make the hunt that much challenging. This one really stuck in my head afterwards.

Unworthy of the Angel tells of an angel sent to earth to help the brother and sister pair of Kristen and Reese. See Reese is a struggling artist and made a deal with the devil to get ahead in the art world, but every time he made one of his twisted sculptures, his sister died a little more. Problem is, the angel couldn't help him if he didn't ask for help, and he was quite intent on his pending exhibition...

The Conqueror Worm has no fantasy aspect at all, unless you give intelligent motiviation to the centipede that stumbles into the middle of a marital spat, escalating what started off as simple distrust to, well, let's just say it doesn't end well.

Ser Visal's Tale was slow moving, a tale told in bits and spurts as Ser Visal downed flagon of wine after flagon. In a religiously controlled society, where witches were hunted without mercy, and helping them could be punished by death, just telling the story of how Dom Peralt got mixed up with the witch Thamala, was a great risk. But it was a tale that needed telling, with a twist at the end.

"Daughter of Regals"
Main Characters: Chrysalis, Mage Ryzel, Count Thornden, Queen Damia, King Thone
Main Elements: Dragons, Wizards
First Published:
First Publishing
Main Characters: Korik, Hyram, Shetra
Main Elements: Wizards
First Published:
Underwood Miller - 1981
"Mythological Beast"
Main Characters: Norman
Main Elements: Unicorns, Dystopia
First Published:
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January - 1979
"The Lady in White"
Main Characters: Mardik, the Lady in White
Main Elements: Witches
First Published:
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January - 1978
"Animal Lover"
Main Characters: Agent Sam Browne, Ushre, Dr. Paracels
Main Elements: Science Fiction (genetic engineering, cyborgs)
First Published:
Stellar #4, Del Rey Books - 1978
"Unworthy of the Angel"
Main Characters: Kristen, Reese, the angel
Main Elements: Angels
First Published:
Nine Visions, Seabury Press - 1983
"The Conqueror Worm"
Main Characters: Creel, Violet
Main Elements: NA
First Published:
The Dodd Mead Gallery of Horror - 1983
"Ser Visal's Tale"
Main Characters: Ser Visal, Dom Peralt, Thamala, Templeman Knarll
Main Elements: Witches
First Published:
First Publishing

Posted: January 2016


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