With a connecting theme of discovering one's true self and true path in life, this anthology collects 19 tales of heroic women: warriors, kitchen maids, witches and wives who rise to claim the role of champion.

Fairly average overall, there are, as with most short story anthologies, a few clunkers and a few outstanding tales. There are promising new authors with good but unpolished stories—an unusual mermaid vignette from Linda J. Dunn, a Celtic murder mystery from Mara Gray, Margaret L. Carter's medieval paranormal that reads like the beginning of a novel and Deborah Ross' simple and honest journey of self-discovery, "Bread and Arrows."

The previous Sword & Sorceress anthologies have showcased early works of several authors now turning out bestselling fantasy novels, including Mercedes Lackey and Jennifer Roberson. No doubt several of the names here will become as well-known. (Aug., 320 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum