I’ve finally completed MV Media’s GRIOTS: A Sword and Soul Anthology edited by Milton J. Davis & Charles R. Saunders. The anthology is a resounding achievement of highlighting African-American writers and illustrators! These Creators have crafted exciting fantasy stories featuring African and Black Characters that aren’t easily found in most sword and sorcery epics today, and most definitely not in the past 20 plus years.
I have followed the publishing career and trajectory of Milton J. Davis, from his early days on Hero Talk Forum/BlackSuperHero.com and he has done nothing but increase his publishing output and momentum. For GRIOTS, he has banded together with a living legend and Father of what is called Sword And Soul, Charles R. Saunders.
For those that aren’t familiar, in the beginning there was sword and sorcery, a genre which would be the basis of Conan, Krull and many others but in those hallowed pages of fantasy fiction, there was barely any African or Black characters as lead heroes in any epic adventures. Seeing the lack of, Mr. Saunders’ character Imaro was created to fill a void and so Sword And Soul was born.
Together with Milton, as Saunders has described, “A previously unknown sibling.”, they have made literary history. Why? I quote Saunders again, “I read the sword and sorcery I could get my hands on. And my visits to the authors’ imaginary worlds were enjoyable – for the most part. That lesser part, however, grated like a stone in my shoe. That stone was racism.”
GRIOTS, as other newly published works by many African and African Descendents is a call to action. A shield and sword to combat that literary racism that has and exists today, by telling the stories we want told. Placing ourselves and images we create at the center of the adventure, as the answer to the question – who’s going to save the day? Heroic acts, imaginative worlds and destiny filled quests await the reader and why not? It’s been time for Black Heroes; we’ve always been here.
Some of my favorite selections are;
- Mrembo Aliyenaswa (Captured Beauty) by Milton Davis has his flagship hero Changa rescuing a kidnapped woman from her captors.
- Awakening by Valjeanne Jeffers creates a young woman named Nandi who has the ambition and skills to become a great warrior led by Ogun, the God of War.
- Skin Magic by P. Dejli Clark is about Makami a hunted thief that is cursed with magical powers via moving tattoos!
- Imaro: “The Three Faced One” by Charles R. Saunders is about Imaro defending a tribe against encroachment by their neighbors, possessed by an evil being.
- “Sekadi’s Koan” by Geoffrey Thorne
However, the remaining stories are just unique and interesting to read. I must list those as well. They are:However, the remaining stories are just unique and interesting to read. I must list those as well. They are:
- Changeling by Carole McDonnell
- The General’s Daughter by Anthony Nana Kwamu
- The Queen, The Demon and The Mercenary by Ronald T. Jones
- IceWitch by Rebecca McFarland Kyle
- The Leopard Walks Alone by Melvin Carter
RESPECT must be paid to the amazing artists that have created companion artwork for each of the stories. I loved the images!
I’ve enjoyed reading GRIOTS and I recommend this collection as a must have! Different writing styles
and unique characters really highlight the diverse stories. I couldn’t help but imagine that all of the stories were apart of one universe or world. Of course, in a larger sense they are but it would have been cool if some grand scheme by the editors included some world map that included each of the unique locations in GRIOTS. Mmm..maybe that’s a seed I’ve planted
Get this book! You will not be disappointed! You will be inspired to continue to find and follow the authors and their works! Click this link http://www.mvmediaatl.com/griots.html and order it! It will enhance your sci-fi / fantasy book collection!