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Paperback publishing has come a long way since the early 80s. Improved binding and glues have made producing thicker books much more economical. Or something, I dunno. But we’re definitely living in the golden age of the omnibus, when publishers are cramming shelves with big, fat paperbacks collecting forgotten fantasy and SF series from prior decades, all for about the same price as every other dopey paperback.
Is that a great deal, or what? I certainly thought so on Saturday, when I found a handsome volume collecting all three novels in Stephen Leigh’s long out-of-print science fantasy Hoorka Trilogy on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. Assassin’s Dawn includes Slow Fall to Dawn (1981), Dance of the Hag (1983), and A Quiet of Stone (1984). The Hoorka are a guild of assassins with a strict code: any victim that can survive until dawn may go free, unmolested. But the consequences of this law can be harsh, especially when the client has no such scruples, as their leader Gyll discovers as he tries to take his guild offworld, into the newly thriving Alliance, a star-spanning organization attempting to put together the pieces of a once-great empire.
Stephen Leigh is also the author of The Crystal Memory, Dark Water’s Embrace, Dinosaur Planet, Speaking Stones, The Bones of God, and The Abraxas Marvel Circus. His publisher DAW has been something of a pioneer in the fantasy omnibus biz, with a nice assortment from Terry A. Adams, Tanya Huff, Marion Zimmer Bradley, C. J Cherryh, Jennifer Roberson, S. Andrew Swann, Peter Morwood, and many others.
Assassin’s Dawn was published May 2013 by DAW. It is 610 fat pages, priced at $8.99 for both the paperback and digital versions.