In 2010, Black Gate announced Rogue Blades Entertainment Conjures DEMONS. This October 2023, the third edition has been issued and with it a revamped Kindle version! The original Kindle edition lacked a functioning, linked Table of Contents, but that’s all brought up to modern standards. It is dedicated to Robert Mancebo, author for several Rogue Blade Entertainment anthologies, who sadly passed away in 2023.
Jason M Waltz is well known amongst adventure fiction readers, especially the Swords & Sorcery crowd. With his Rogue Blades Entertainment Books and associated Foundation, he’s brought us the epic Return of the Sword (BG review) and then Rage of the Behemoth, and Demons. He’s edited/published a variety of other anthologies with themes of Weird Noir, Pirates, and Sword & Planet with Lost Empire of Sol (BG review), and splendid nonfiction like Writing Fantasy Heroes (BG review) and recently Robert E. Howard Changed My Life (BG review). He recently ran a successful Kickstarter for another anthology as spotlighted on BG: “Neither Beg Nor Yield – A Sword & Sorcery Anthology with Attitude.” As you await Neither Beg Nor Yield, you’ll want to revisit Demons.
Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology – Blurb
When the gates of Hell open, who stands between Man and the Abyss? From mankind’s infancy, people have huddled in the dark, drawing signs in the air, muttering quiet prayers, quivering with dread at what roams in the night. Demons. Creatures of the Darkness. Evil spirits riding dark winds. And mankind trembled. Yet a few stood, drew steel imbued with magic to hue spirit as well as flesh, and walked out into the night to meet the foes of mortal men. Join the struggle in these 28 masterful tales of adventure and mayhem as heroes, forged as strong as the steel they wield, defy foes from the realms of nightmare.
In Demons: A Clash of Steel Anthology, Rogue Blades Entertainment (RBE) delivers what it claims: a sampling of demon stories and adventure. Your chance of finding appealing stories is decent with 28 entries. Chock full of demons, champions, possession, witches, etc.. Kudos to RBE for keeping these tales alive from a 2006 publication (Carnifex Press). The purpose of an anthology is to provide an array of options, allow new readers to explore the genre, allow self-described “veteran readers” to identify new authors, and enable reading in small doses (i.e. great for traveling or parents with small children constantly interrupting their activities). “Demons” delivers this.
For anthologies, we expect to experiment with doses of new material/authors. For me, three stories that emphasized personal demons (or personal challenges) were outstanding. They stuck with me and are worth rereading; my favorites are in bold below in the Table of Contents listing. But you may have your own favorites! Check them out:
Demons: Table of Contents
- “Foreword” by Armand Rosamilia
- “The Man with the Webbed Throat” by Steve Moody
- “Imprisoned” by Carl Walmsley
- “Toxic” by Steven L. Shrewsbury
- “Azieran: Bound by Virtue” by Christopher Heath
- “Bodyguard of the Dead” by C.L. Werner
- “Kron Darkbow” by Ty Johnston
- “The Vengeance of Tibor” by Ron Shiflet
- “The Beast of Lyoness” by Christopher Stires
- “Fifteen Breaths” by Phil Emery
- “The Pact” by Jonathan Green
- “Blood Ties” by Trista Robichaud
- “Zeerembuk” by Steve Goble
- “The Fearsome Hunger” by Rob Mancebo
- “The Furnace” by Sandro G. Franco
- “The First League Out from Land” by Brian Dolton
- “The Sacrifice” by Jason Irrgang
- “Son of the Rock” by Laura J. Underwood
- “Into Shards” by Murray J.D. Leeder
- “Through the Dark” by Darla J. Bowen
- “Joenna’s Ax” by Elaine Isaak
- “The Lesser: A Swords of the Daemor Tale” by Patrick Thomas
- “When the Darkness Grows” by Frederick Tor
- “Demon Heart” by Bryan Lindenberger
- “Azieran: Racked upon the Altar of Eeyuu” by Christopher Heath
- “Born Warriors” by TW Williams
- “Mistaken Identity” by Robert J. Santa
- “Box of Bones” by Jonathan Moeller
- “By Hellish Means” by Bill Ward
S.E. Lindberg is a Managing Editor at Black Gate, regularly reviewing books and interviewing authors on the topic of “Beauty & Art in Weird-Fantasy Fiction.” He is also the lead moderator of the Goodreads Sword & Sorcery Group and an intern for Tales from the Magician’s Skull magazine. As for crafting stories, he has contributed six entries across Perseid Press’s Heroes in Hell and Heroika series, has an entry in Weirdbook Annual #3: Zombies He independently publishes novels under the banner Dyscrasia Fiction; short stories of Dyscrasia Fiction have appeared in Whetstone, Swords & Sorcery online magazine, Rogues In the House Podcast’s A Book of Blades Vol I and Vol II, DMR’s Terra Incognita, and the 9th issue of Tales From the Magician’s Skull.