Chronicles of Ave and Annals of the Rising Dawn by Stephen Zimmer

For those who don not already know, Stephen Zimmer is the author of two ambitious and epic series of novels: ‘The Rising Dawn Saga’ and ‘The Fires in Eden’ series. Here he brings us a collection of short stories now available as eBooks.

The first short story Into Glory Ride ISBN: 9781937929008 opens with a quote from CS Lewis (a favourite of Zimmer) and sees Marragesh a young Trogen warrior using ingenuity as well as courage to save his people in the face of an invading army of Elves.

We visit the Sea Wolf Clan and learn that one person can make a big difference. I enjoyed this short as I learned a lot of background story of Zimmer’s fantasy world of Ave through the eyes of one of its inhabitants. The story was full of the fear and anticipation of coming conflict and an excellently executed, adrenalin-fuelled aerial battle. It also managed to be surprisingly poignant and moving as well.

Next up Land of Shadow ISBN: 9781937929015 concerns Godfrey, an Avanoran knight on an expedition through the Shadowlands where fierce creatures and the supernatural lurk. Here Zimmer manages to create tension and menace in equal menace.

The band of mercenaries that Godfrey leads reminded me of the conquistadors in ‘Aguirre: Wrath of God’ as they too explore a hostile and foreboding land. This sets things up nicely for future adventures into an uncharted area of Ave and should please existing fans of the ‘Fires in Eden’ series.

Finally in the ‘Chronicles of Ave’ is Lion Heart ISBN: 9781937929022 which introduces an entire new people to the reader: The Amazu. Sigananda is a young warrior who is on an important journey to prevent a war. This has wizards, magic and the Zulu like Amazu in an area of Ave not yet visited. I felt this was the weakest in the collection of shorts but was nonetheless intrigued by what the future will hold in for the central character and his people.

The fourth and final short is from ‘The Rising Dawn Saga’ Temples Rising ISBN: 9781937929039 which is set in the pre-Flood era and is steeped in Celtic lore. We learn a little more about the background to ‘Rising Dawn’ and the horrific nature of the nephilim, fallen avatars and banshees.

I particularly enjoyed this one as Zimmer lets his imagination rip on ancient myths and fearsome monsters with his usual flair for strong and vivid imagery (it’s clear why he is also a filmmaker) This is horrific and gory at times and involves sorcerers, giants, stone monoliths and ritual sacrifice. Not your average day then!

Can Cormac stop the Raven Queen and the plight of his people?

All of these short stories are a nice introduction for those unfamiliar with Zimmer’s work. If you want to test the water before committing to the two epic series of novels then these offer a little background and insight into their worlds. Conversely if you are already a fan then these provide fascinating additional insight as well as new characters and new lands. Taken as a whole these short stories reminded me just why Zimmer is a favourite fantasy writer of mine as well as an author to look out for.

Chronicles of Ave & Annals of the Rising Dawn
Short Stories by Stephen Zimmer
Published 2011 by Seventh Star Press

8/10 A nice introduction for those unfamiliar with Stephen Zimmer's work.

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