This is the first short-story collection from prolific author Modesitt. The 19 stories, ranging from hard science fiction to
fantasy, are intelligent and thought provoking. Despite the short format, the characters are well developed, with real insight into motivation, and intriguing plots make each one a satisfying read.
Three stories have never before been published. The first, "Black Ordermage," features Cassius of the Saga of Recluce. "Beyond the Obvious Wind" is the story that inspired the The Corean Chronicles, and "Always Outside the Lines: Four Battles" deals with truth and perception. (TOR, Mar., 352 pp., $25.95)