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The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories

Joan Aiken

Here is the whisper in the night, the dog whose loyalty outlasted death, the creak upstairs, that half-remembered ghost story that won't let you sleep, the sound that raises gooseflesh, the wish you'd checked the lock on the door before dark fell. Here are tales of suspense and the supernatural that will chill, amuse, and exhilarate. Features a new introduction by the late author's daughter, Lizza Aiken.

Best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Joan Aiken (1924-2004) wrote over a hundred books and won the Guardian and Edgar Allan Poe awards. After her first husband's death, she supported her family by copyediting at Argosy magazine and an advertising agency before turning to fiction. She went on to write for Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair, Argosy, Women's Own, and many others. Visit her online at joanaiken.com.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Kelly Link
  • "The Power of Storytelling: Joan Aiken's Strange Stories" by Lizza Aiken
  • Cold Flame
  • The Dark Streets of Kimball's Green
  • Furry Night
  • Hope
  • Humblepuppy
  • The Lame King
  • The Last Specimen
  • A Leg Full of Rubies
  • Listening
  • Lob's Girl
  • The Man Who Had Seen the Rope Trick
  • The Mysterious Barricades
  • Old Fillikin
  • The People in the Castle
  • A Portable Elephant
  • A Room Full of Leaves
  • She Was Afraid of Upstairs
  • Some Music for the Wicked Countess
  • Sonata for Harp and Bicycle
  • Watkyn, Comma

The Enchanted Castle

E. Nesbit

When Jerry, Jimmy and Cathy discover a tunnel that leads to a castle, they pretend that it is enchanted. But when they discover a Sleeping Princess at the centre of a maze, astonishing things begin to happen. Amongst a horde of jewels they discover a ring that grants wishes. But wishes granted are not always wishes wanted, so the children find themselves grappling with invisibility, dinosaurs, a ghost and the fearsome Ugli-Wuglies before it is all resolved.

The Castle of Crossed Destinies

Italo Calvino

A series of short, fantastic narratives inspired by fifteenth-century tarot cards and their archetypical images. Full-color and black-and-white reproductions of tarot cards. Translated by William Weaver.

The Black Castle

Les Daniels

Spain, 1496 The Inquisition. The darkness that is Europe is let by the human bonfires of the Inquisition. Even those cold and courtly agents of the Dark one are sickened by the sound of cracking bones. Even they are moved to try and stop this human horror that beggars hell. Even they - who soar on leather wings, who fill their bowls with blood - even they can feel fear and know failure.

The Castle That Jack Built

Emily Gilman

WFA nominated novelette. It originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #87, January 2012. The story can also be found in the anthology The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2013, edited by Rich Horton.

Read the full story for free at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

The Beasts of Clawstone Castle

Eva Ibbotson

When Madlyn and Rollo are sent to stay at ancient Clawstone Castle, they soon fall in love with the house and its eccentric, penniless inhabitants.

There's grumpy, limping Uncle George, mousey Miss Emily, and reclusive Cousin Howard, who hardly ever leaves his library.

But the children are especially enchanted by the cattle of Clawstone Park - rare and beautiful beasts, as white as snow and as wild as wolves. No one knows where they came from, but the owners of Clawstone have always protected them. So, as the castle crumbles away, Madlyn and Rollo devise a money-raising scheme.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

The Castle

Franz Kafka

K. kept feeling that he had lost himself, or was further away in a strange land than anyone had ever been before'

A remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats - this is the setting for Kafka's story about a man seeking both acceptance in the village and access to the castle. Kafka breaks new ground in evoking a dense village community fraught with tensions, and recounting an often poignant, occasionally farcical love-affair. He also explores the relation between the individual and power, and asks why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination.

Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared in the same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature.

The Art of Castle in the Sky

Hayao Miyazaki

The definitive examination of the art and animation of Studio Ghibli's masterpiece of fantasy and flight, Castle in the Sky!

The latest in the perennially popular line of Studio Ghibli art books, which includes interviews, concept sketches, and finished animation cels from classics such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.

Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky was the first feature film produced by the legendary Studio Ghibli. Sheeta, a girl who has the power to defy gravity, is on the run from pirates when she meets the young inventor Pazu. Together they explore the secrets of Laputa, a flying city constructed by a long-lost race of people. All of Miyazaki's major themes--the power of flight, the bravery of young women, and a world wrecked by change--are captured with beautiful animation and joyous storytelling.

The Art of Howl's Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki

Based on the novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle gave the internationally renowned director Hayao Miyazaki an opportunity to bring to life a fantastical time in 19th century Europe when science and magic defined the popular zeitgeist.

Veering slightly from its source material, the new Miyazaki movie nonetheless retains all the novel's principal characters. There's a foppish wizard named Howl, a vain witch from the wastelands, an anthropomorphic chimney fire and a young girl who carries a most unusual curse. And, of course, there's the moving castle... a towering, omnipresent structure that dominates the landscape.

Along with a generous collection of concept sketches, fully rendered character and background drawings, paintings and cell images, The Art of Howl's Moving Castle also presents interviews and comments with the production staff, including key points directly from the director.

The Duke in His Castle

Vera Nazarian

Nebula-nominated Novella

The Duke in His Castle by Nebula Award-nominated author and award-winning artist Vera Nazarian is a dark, lush, erotic fantasy novella in the vein of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, with interior illustrations by the author. Rossian, the young Duke of Violet, wastes away in mad solitude, unable to leave the confines of his decadent castle grounds because of a mysterious invisible barrier... until a strange female intruder arrives at the castle bearing a box of bones.

Castle Coeurlieu

Naomi Novik

This short story originally appeared in the anthology Unfettered II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy (2016), edited by Shawn Speakman, and was reprinted in Lightspeed, July 2018.

Read the full story for free at Lightspeed.

The Castle Keeps

Andrew J. Offutt

The Shape of Chaos

The Andrews in their hilltop home had only ancient weapons to defend themselves from roving bands of ravagers...

The Caudills were protected in their sealed-up apartment building in the city - but stifled by the restraints of their artificial environment...

Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Stories

Terry Pratchett

Dragons have invaded Crumbling Castle, and all of King Arthur's knights are either on holiday or visiting their grannies. It's a disaster!

Luckily, there's a spare suit of armour and a very small boy called Ralph who's willing to fill it. Together with Fortnight the Friday knight and Fossfiddle the wizard, Ralph sets out to defeat the fearsome fire-breathers.

But there's a teeny weeny surprise in store . . .

Fourteen fantastically funny stories from master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, full of time travel and tortoises, monsters and mayhem!

Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Tales of Ray Russell

Ray Russell

Haunted Castles is the definitve, complete collection of Ray Russell's masterful Gothic horror stories, including the famously terrifying novella trio of "Sardonicus," "Sanguinarius," and "Sagittarius." The characters that sprawl through Haunted Castles are frightful to the core: the heartless monster holding two lovers in limbo; the beautiful dame journeying down a damned road toward depravity (with the help of an evil gypsy); the man who must wear his fatal crimes on his face in the form of an awful smile.

Engrossing, grotesque, perverted, and completely entrancing, Russell's Gothic tales are the best kind of dreadful.

Table of Contents:

  • Sardonicus - (1961) - novelette
  • Sagittarius - (1962) - novella
  • Sanguinarius - (1967) - novelette
  • Comet Wine - (1967) - novelette
  • The Runaway Lovers - (1967) - shortstory
  • The Vendetta - (1969) - shortstory (variant of The Man Who Spoke in Rhyme)
  • The Cage - (1959) - shortstory

Summers at Castle Auburn

Sharon Shinn

A woman blessed, or cursed, with a talent for witchcraft returns to Castle Auburn where she spent her childhood in joy-only to find an aura of dread awaiting her.

Steadfast Castle

Michael Swanwick

This short story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2010. It can also be found in the anthology Year's Best SF 16 (2011), edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. The story is included in the collection Not So Much Said the Cat (2016).

Lonely Castle in the Mirror

Mizuki Tsujimura

In a tranquil neighborhood of Tokyo seven students are avoiding going to school -- hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends -- until the moment they find the mirrors in their bedrooms are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives into to a wondrous castle straight out of a Grimm's fairy tale. This whimsical place, oddly lacking in food and running water but full of electrical sockets, is home to a petulant girl in a mask, named Wolf Queen and becomes their playground and refuge during school hours. Hidden within the walls they're told is a key that will grant one wish, and a set of clues with which to find it. But there's a catch: the key must be found by the end of the school year and they must leave the premises by five o'clock each day or else suffer a fatal end.

As time passes, a devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved. And so they begin to unlock each other's stories: how a boy is showered with more gadgets than love; how another suffers a painful and unexplained rejection and how a girl lives in fear of her predatory stepfather. As they struggle to abide by the rules of the game, a moving story unfolds, of seven characters trapped in a cycle of misunderstanding and loneliness, who are ultimately set free by the power of friendship, empathy, and sacrifice.

Exploring vivid human stories with a twisty and puzzle-like plot, this heart-warming novel is full of joy and hope for anyone touched by sadness and vulnerability. At the heart of this tender, playful tale is a powerful message about the importance of reaching out which shows how with one kind act you can change your life for the better, and more importantly, you can change the lives of others.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Stuart Turton

Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath...

The Last Castle

Jack Vance

Hugo and Nebula Award nominated novella.

For 700 years the Meks served without complaint; they were indispensable, for no gentleman would demean himself with toil. But now they turn against the strongholds of civilization--Castle Halcyon, then Sea Island, Morninglight, and Maraval--one by one the proud castles of Earth fall; last standing is Castle Hagedorn.

Winner Nebula Award 1966, Hugo award 1967.

The story originally appeared in Galaxy Magazine, April 1966. The story can also be found in the Nebula Award Stories Two (1967), edited by Brian W. Aldiss and Harry Harrison, The Hugo Winners, Volume 2: (1963-70) (1971), edited by Isaac Asimov, and The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume III (1982), edited by George W. Proctor and Arthur C. Clarke. It is half of Tor Double #15: The Last Castle/Nightwings (1989, with Robert Silverberg) and is included in The Best of Jack Vance (1976) and The Jack Vance Treasury (2007).

The Castle in Transylvania

Jules Verne

Back from the dead: the first ever zombie story

Before there was Dracula, there was The Castle in Transylvania. In its first new translation in over 100 years, this is the first book to set a gothic horror story, featuring people who may or may not be dead, in Transylvania.

In a remote village cut off from the outside world by the dark mountains of Transylvania, the townspeople have come to suspect that supernatural forces must be responsible for the menacing apparitions emanating from the castle looming over them.

But a visiting young count scoffs at their fears. He vows to liberate the villagers by pitting his reason against the forces of superstition--until he sees his dead beloved walking the halls of the castle....

Castle Hangnail

Ursula Vernon

When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.)

But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.

The Castle of Otranto: A Story - Translated by William Marshal, Gent.

Horace Walpole

A haunted castle and a ruined bloodline Manfred, wicked lord of Otranto Castle, is horrified when his son is crushed to death on his wedding day. But rather than witness the end of his line, as foretold in a curse, he resolves to send his own wife to a convent and marry the intended bride himself. However, Manfred's lustful greed will be disturbed by the terrifying omens that now haunt his castle: bleeding statues, skeletal ghouls and a giant sword - as well as the arrival of the rightful prince of Otranto.

Castle of Days

Gene Wolfe

This collection of fiction and nonfiction by one of sf's most luminescent writers includes "Gene Wolfe's Book of Days"--a cycle of 18 stories with holiday themes--and the collection "The Castle of the Otter" as well as speeches, essays, poems, and letters.

Castleview

Gene Wolfe

Arthurian legend collides with Main Street, USA, in Gene Wolfe's classic fantasy adventure. Castleview, Illinois, got its name from occasional sightings of a phantom castle on stormy nights--a place where the barrier between past and present is weak and strange things happen.

Castle Terror

Marion Zimmer Bradley

In order to get away from the married doctor she had fallen in love with, Susan Moore took a job as a private psychiatric nurse on Sanctuary Island, at Duncarlie Castle. The castle had been brought over stone by stone from Scotland and people said it wasn't haunted.... But if there were no ghosts, there were tragedies which still held sway over the castle and its inhabitants. And Sanctuary Island was a sanctuary only for the birds who lived there, watched over by the enigmatic Park Ranger, Ross Hunter.

The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war--and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to awake.

The Dragon Masters / The Last Castle

Jack Vance

The Dragon Masters

Men have been at war for centuries with the reptilian race called "Basics." As conquerors always have, the winners of each bloody encounter have made slaves of the losers--but in this far-future war, each side has improved upon its slaves with genetic engineering.

And so at last there came to be two neighboring worlds: Aerlith, where men have raised a race of fearsome dragons to be their servants, and nearby Coralyne, where the descendants of those very dragons are served by strong, savage mutants who once were human. Inevitably, those two worlds would meet in one final contest...

The Last Castle

For 700 years the Meks served without complaint; they were indispensable, for no gentleman would demean himself with toil. But now they turn against the strongholds of civilization--Castle Halcyon, then Sea Island, Morninglight, and Maraval--one by one the proud castles of Earth fall; last standing is Castle Hagedorn.

The Last Castle / World of the Sleeper

Tony Russell Wayman
Jack Vance

The Last Castle

For 700 years the Meks served without complaint; they were indispensable, for no gentleman would demean himself with toil. But now they turn against the strongholds of civilization--Castle Halcyon, then Sea Island, Morninglight, and Maraval--one by one the proud castles of Earth fall; last standing is Castle Hagedorn.

World of the Sleeper

Take your choice of any world or time - but at your perril.

Black Knights of the Silver-Gray Castle

Adventures of Duan Surk: Book 3

Mishio Fukazawa

Once an inexperienced Level 3 Adventurer, Duan Surk's skill and expertise have only increased since joining up with formidable fighter, Olba October, and beautiful sorceress, Princess Agnis R. Link. The trio currently quests to find Agnis' friend, Prince Orland, but the royal Black Knights capture Olba and Duan and our heroes suddenly find themselves accused of a crime they did not commit!

Based on the hit role-playing game Fortune Quest.

Castle of Deception

Bard's Tale: Book 1

Mercedes Lackey
Josepha Sherman

A young bard faces webs of lies and deception in a world where nothing is as it seems - and everything is a trap for the unwary - When young Kevin became a bard's apprentice, he thought that his new life would be filled with excitement and adventure; so when his new Master's first task for him is a perfectly ordinary manuscript copying errand to the castle of Count Volmar his disappointment knew no bounds. Why the Count was not even involved in Court politics!

But when the Count's niece is kidnapped by elves and the Count asks for his help in recovering her, Kevin is convinced that the adventure he craves is at last at hand. What he cannot know is that the distressed damsel is not really Count Valmar's niece, that the abductors are not really elves - and that even the rescue is not what it appears to be.

The Castle in Cassiopeia

Birthright Universe: Dead Enders: Book 3

Mike Resnick

A crisis has arisen. In the first book of the series, THE FORTRESS IN ORION, Pretorius and his Dead Enders kidnapped the real General Michkag and substituted a clone who had been raised and trained in the Democracy. But now they find that the clone likes being the most powerful man in the hundred-world Traanskei Coalititon - and having been raised on Earth, he knows how humans think and react.

This becomes a many-layered problem for Pretorius and what is left of his Dead Enders. As the only humans on a totally militarized alien world, they must first find where the best-guarded member of the enemy's military - Michkag - is hiding and how many aliens, or regiments, or divisions, are guarding him, and then they must find a way past all his lines of defense to kill or capture him.

Castles Made of Sand

Bold As Love Cycle: Book 2

Gwyneth Jones

Ax Preston, Sage Pender and Fiorinda, charismatic leaders of the Rock 'n' Roll Reich, have beaten the cascade of disasters that followed the collapse of the former United Kingdom. Now they have to find some resolution to the impossible dynamics of their own relationship, while the world keeps getting stranger. There are fearsome things going on in England's rural hinterland, and in Continental Europe the green nazis are planning a final solution to desperate environmental damage.

But there's nothing the Triumvirate can't handle - until Fiorinda's father, secret master of powers that are very old and very new, reaches out to reclaim his magical child, the flower-bride. And that's when darkness falls over Ax's England . . .

Harrowing . . . enchanting -- a dark fairy tale with an epic sweep, set in a world very like our own.

The Year of Our War

Castle: Book 1

Steph Swainston

Jant is the Messenger, one of The Circle, a cadre of 50 immortals who serve the Emperor, and the only who can fly. The Emperor seeks to protect mankind from the hordes of giant insects who have plagued the land for centuries. But he must also contend with the rivalries of his chosen immortals.

No Present Like Time

Castle: Book 2

Steph Swainston

Another year in mankind's war for survival against the insects. God is still on holiday, the Emperor still leads and his cadre of immortals are still quarreling amongst themselves. It is known that the insects are reaching the Fourlands from the Shift but now mankind just has to do something about it. And in the meantime attention shifts to new lands and a naval expedition is launched. And Jant, the Emperor's drug-addicted winged messanger is expected to join it. Just perfect for a man terrified of ships and the sea. Steph Swainston's trilogy is building to be a landmark of modern fantasy. This is a wildly imaginative, witty yet profound fantasy, peopled with bizarre yet real characters.

Dangerous Offspring

Castle: Book 3

Steph Swainston

The third of the castle novels will take the reader ever deeper into a world of beauty and terror. A world led by an immortal emperor and the circle; his 50 immortal helpers. It is a world with an absentee god, a world that has been fighting a war against giant insects. A world like no other. There will be more insights into Jant, the emperors vain winged messenger, and the shift, the surreal other life Jant enters when he overdoses on his drug of choice and where he meets the dead in a land that defies logic. This is a fantasy series like no other - a literary fantasy with the verve and originality to stand alongside the best of Mervyn Peake, M. John Harrison and China Mieville.

Published as The Modern World in the UK.

Above the Snowline

Castle: Book 4

Steph Swainston

A prequel to Swainston's Castle novels, this story of reader favorite character Jant Shira is perfect for fans of China Mieville, Hal Duncan, and Alan Campbell-the bright cutting edge of contemporary fantasy.

Here is the story of Jant Shira's life as a hunter in the mountains, before the drugs took over. Awian exiles are building a stronghold in the Darkling mountains, where the Rhydanne hunt. Their clash of interests soon leads to bloodshed and Shira Dellin, a Rhydanne huntress, appeals to the immortal Circle for justice. The Emperor sends Jant-half-Rhydanne, half-Awian, and all confidence-to mediate. As Jant is drawn into the spiraling violence he is shaken into coming to terms with his own heritage, and with his feelings for the alien, intoxicating Dellin. This story of Jant's early years in the Circle shows the Fourlands as readers have never seen them before.

Fair Rebel

Castle: Book 5

Steph Swainston

Steph Swainston's much-anticipated return to her uniquely imagined fantasy world of the Fourlands.

Fifteen years after the last devastating Insect attack, the immortal Circle is finally ready to launch an offensive against their implacable enemies. This time they have a new weapon - gunpowder. Hopes are high.

But the Circle's plans are threatened when the vital barrels of gunpowder go missing. Jant, the Circle's winged messenger, is tasked to investigate. Soon it becomes clear that the theft is part of a deadly conspiracy... and Jant and his friends are among the targets.

As tensions rise, Jant races to foil the conspirators. Can he expose them in time - or will the crisis blow the Fourlands apart?

The Castle of Dark

Castle of Dark: Book 1

Tanith Lee

Although she leads an overprotected life with the two old hags, Lilune knows she possesses a special gift. When she "calls" the musician, Lir, to her prison like castle, she knows she must avail herself of the opportunity to escape and explore the world. But traveling south of the castle, Lilune and Lir realize that they aren't alone - for an ancient, infectious evil accompanies them, which instils terror in everyone they meet. Lir dislikes arrogant Lilune, but finds himself intrigued by her and the source of evil. Is it within Lilune, or does it come from a deeper source? When the pair becomes separated, he carries on searching for her. Finally, Lilune returns to the castle in despair, believing that she must be imprisoned to protect the world from the evil within her. But Lir follows her, and discovers that the root of the evil lies deep beneath the castle...

Prince on a White Horse

Castle of Dark: Book 2

Tanith Lee

He was a prince, he knew. And he was riding a white horse. But who he was, and how he got there, he had no idea. The horse didn't know either - it was good at protecting him from the many monsters that came to attack him, and it could turn into a lion, for difficult jobs like climbing mountains, but although it told the prince many things, it always denied that it could speak.

The prince needed all the help he could get. During a series of adventures in which he encountered two witches (one good and one bad), escaped from Beesles, Oggrings, Skolks, and some of the other extremely unpleasant creatures that lived in the world, and acquired a companion, Gemant the Red Knight, the Prince discovered from Vultikan the Hoiler that he was the Looked-For Deliverer. VultiKan gave him a special sword and a suit of armour to equip him for the fray. His foe was Nulgrave, and the very mention of the word terrified everyone.

Suffering from confusion himself, and in a world which operated by no logic he could fathom, the prince's task was monumentally hard. But Nulgrave was horribly serious, so he persevered, and the result was as crazy and funny - and satisfying as anyone could wish.

Count Brass

Chronicles of Castle Brass: Book 1

Michael Moorcock

COUNT BRASS, the concluding volume of the tale of the eternal champion, makes the fearsome journey to Tanelorn in search of resolution. The avatar of the champion - Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon and Erekose must pool their talents in order to bring about the conjunction of the million spheres.

The Champion of Garathorm

Chronicles of Castle Brass: Book 2

Michael Moorcock

The Quest for Tanelorn

Chronicles of Castle Brass: Book 3

Michael Moorcock

Tanelorn. Fabled city at the edge of time. The fate of a million universes hangs in the balance as Hawkmoon boards a sombre ship for the voyage between the worlds: for in Tanelorn he will discover the secret of his destiny and fight the ultimate battle against the forces of Chaos.

Hell's Belle

Dark Mirror Agency: Book 1

Marie Castle

Cate Delacy is glad she's a witch--and you can take that any ol' way you like.

As a very mortal woman she has a target on her back, so she has no intention of following in her mother's footsteps as an enforcer for the Council of Supernatural Beings. She didn't ask to be a Guardian and she has to pay her bills. Opening the Darkmirror Agency is her solution. Her clients are mostly human and they pay on time.

But one day it all goes to Hell, figuratively. Then literally. Because that's the day the Council's detective Jacqueline Slone slinks her way into Cate's life. Jacq. So alluring. So powerful. So immortal. And up to her sexy neck in a secret that will unleash Hell's Belle.

Marie Castle's unpredictable Darkmirror world is unveiled in this romantic, sizzling debut.

The Autumn Castle

Europa Suite: Book 1

Kim Wilkins

Berlin in autumn: Christine Starlight is living in an artists' colony in the crumbling urban shadows of the old east. Her lover Jude is a painter; his beauty and patience help her bear the chronic pain that is a legacy of the car crash that crippled her and killed her beloved parents. Out of the blue comes a crimson-haired beauty, who presides over a land where a witch dwells in a well, a wolf is the queen's counsellor and fate turns on the fall of an autumn leaf. For a brief span, the lands of faery and mortal man march hand in hand and Queen Mayfridh has taken the chance to seek out Christine, her childhood friend. But dealings with faeryland are never simple: as Christine yearns for Mayfridfh's world, where mortals feel no pain, so Mayfridh in turn is becoming addicted to Christine's, where there are tastes and textures and the danger of forbidden love. As secrets and jealousies and betrayals begin to unpick the threads that bind their lives, so yet another danger stalks them: the cruel and brilliant billionaire sculptor Immanuel Z. He is hunting faery bones for the grandest sculpture of them all...

The Prisoner of Blackwood Castle

Harry Challenge: Book 1

Ron Goulart

Cliffhanger!

Something was decidedly rotten in Orlando, deduced Harry Challenge, as his former flame Princess Alicia flung him unceremoniously from the royal palace. An evil plot was afoot!

And it was Harry to the rescue...

Aided by a masteful magician, a dandy playboy, and rich Americans... Abetted by a pretty reporter after the story, and the hero... Assaulted by a bloodthirsty baron, a bloodless doctor, a blood-sucking beauty, and a windup werewolf... Could Harry's dauntless daring and silver bullets save the princess?

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Castle: Book 1

Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Castle in the Air

Howl's Castle: Book 2

Diana Wynne Jones

Having long indulged himself in daydreams more exciting than his mundane life as a carpet merchant, Abdullah unexpectedly purchases a magic carpet and his life changes dramatically as his daydreams come true and dangerous adventures become daily fare.

House of Many Ways

Howl's Castle: Book 3

Diana Wynne Jones

Charmain Baker is in over her head. Looking after Great Uncle William's tiny cottage while he's ill should have been easy, but Great Uncle William is better known as the Royal Wizard Norland and his house bends space and time. Its single door leads to any number of places - the bedrooms, the kitchen, the caves under the mountains, the past, to name but a few. By opening that door, Charmain is now also looking after an extremely magical stray dog, a muddled young apprentice wizard and a box of the king's most treasured documents, as well as irritating a clan of small blue creatures. Caught up in an intense royal search, she encounters an intimidating sorceress named Sophie. And where Sophie is, can the Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer be far behind?

The Castle of Iron

Incomplete Enchanter: Book 2

L. Sprague de Camp
Fletcher Pratt

It's like this... I am a psychologist at a university in Ohio - very solid state, solid job.

What with ont thing and another my wife happens to be a fictional character from a poem. This is hard to explain. When she disappears into another world, it si much harder to explain - particularly to the cops.

When I follow her with a magic carper, a werewold, and some spells that don't quite work - it's impossible to explain.

Unless, of course, you read the book....

The Lord of Castle Black

Khaavren Romances: Book 4

Steven Brust

Now Brust has returned to the Khaavren epic, first with last year's The Paths of the Dead, and now with its direct continuation, The Lord of Castle Black, a novel that gives Vlad Taltos and Khaavren fans alike a new look at one of Brust's most popular characters, the Dragonlord Morrolan. Along the way, we'll also encounter swordplay, intrigues, quests, battles, romance, snappy dialogue, and the missing heir to the Imperial Throne. It's an old-fashioned adventure, moving at a 21st-century pace.

The Castle of the Silver Wheel

Kingdom of Celydonn: Book 1

Teresa Edgerton

Possessed with the gift of magic, Gwenlliant of Celydonn travels with her husband to Mochdreff to rule over a nation with a long history of animosity toward her people.

Lilith's Castle

Memory Palace: Book 2

Gill Alderman

In this sequel to The Memory Palace, fantasy crosses over to the real world as the Malthassan Archmage Koschei Corbillion becomes Guy Parados, his creator. When the magician Koschei escaped through the mind of his creator Guy Parados into the world where he is fiction, he became Guy Parados, and Parados became the Red Horse in the land of Malthassa...his own invention, he believed. But Malthassa has deeper roots, and it is there the Red Horse must go.

The Castle of Wolfenbach

Northanger Horrid: Book 1

Eliza Parsons

"No longer to be regarded as a footnote to the literary history of Jane Austen's Northanger septet, Eliza Parsons's Castle of Wolfenbach (1793) now secures its proper place as both a work of historical importance and a highly readable Gothic novel in its own right with this fine edition. Diane Long Hoeveler's thoughtful introduction opens new perspectives on Parsons's achievement in the field of what might be called "international" Gothic in her creation of an "ideologically bifurcated female Gothic, part liberal and part conservative" in its political outlook. This new edition both supplants earlier editions of this pivotal Gothic and tells us much about how the Gothic novel evolved in the late 1790s as an historical reflector of the fears, beliefs, and prejudices of a revolutionary, yet reactionary, era." -- Frederick S. Frank, Professor Emeritus of English, Allegheny College, and author of The First Gothics.

Matilda Weimar flees her lecherous and incestuous uncle and seeks refuge in the ancient Castle of Wolfenbach. Among the castle's abandoned chambers, Matilda will discover the horrifying mystery of the missing Countess of Wolfenbach. But when her uncle tracks her down, can she escape his despicable intentions?

One of the seven "horrid novels" named in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Castle of Wolfenbach is perhaps the most important of the early Gothic novels, predating both The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk.

This edition reprints the complete text of the 1793 edition and includes a new introduction by Diane Long Hoeveler, one of the foremost modern scholars of Gothic literature and feminism.

The Dragons of Dorcastle

Pillars of Reality: Book 1

Jack Campbell

The first book in a thrilling new epic fantasy saga, written exclusively for Audible by Jack Campbell, the New York Times best-selling author of The Lost Fleet series!

For centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls, where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other's Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.

As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn't know - that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.

Castle of Wizardry

The Belgariad: Book 4

David Eddings

END OF THE QUEST

It had all begun with the theft of the Orb that had so long protected the West from the evil God Torak. Before that, Garion had been a simple farm boy. Afterward, he discovered that his aunt was really the Sorceress Polgara and his grandfather was Belgarath, the Eternal Man. Then, on the long quest to recover the Orb, Garion found to his dismay that he, too, was a sorcerer.

Now, at last, the Orb was regained and the quest was nearing its end. Of course, the questors still had to escape from this crumbling enemy fortress and flee across a desert filled with Murgo soldiers searching for them, while Grolim Hierarchs strove to destroy them with dark magic. Then, somehow, they must manage to be in Riva with the Orb by Erastide. After that, however, Garion was sure that his part in these great events would be finished.

But the Prophecy still held future surprises for Garion--and for the little princess Ce'Nedra.

Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Two

The Early Jack Vance: Book 2

Jack Vance

Jack Vance, Magician

Like the professional wizards and sorcerers he so often writes about, Jack Vance has long been a master magician when it comes to storytelling, turning out marvelous tricks with words, using his wonderful knack for names, detail and dialog, his fine eye for rendering the vagaries of the human condition to deliver high adventure set on fascinating worlds and in fabulous realms that are second to none.

In a career spanning nearly sixty years, this peerless F&SF Grand Master has taken us from the Dying Earth to Lyonesse, from the Oikumene of the Demon Princes to the farthest corners of the Gaean Reach, Alastor Cluster and beyond, bringing alive on the page magical places we can only dream about.

Dream Castles presents a generous serving of this celebrated magician's "performances," ten fascinating tales from his long and influential career, among them his two Miro Hetzel adventures, "The Dogtown Tourist Agency" and "Freitzke's Turn," the intriguing "The Narrow Land," a second outing for Jean Parlier in "Choldwell's Chickens," and the classic space opera of "Son of the Tree."

Dream Castles shows a true magician storyteller perfecting his craft, one moment as journeyman finding a voice all his own, the next as fully-fledged maestro intent on exploring worlds and delivering adventure and wonder in equal parts, the very stuff that dreams are made of.

Table of Contents:

  • The Dogtown Tourist Agency
  • Freitzke's Turn
  • I'll Build Your Dream Castle
  • Golden Girl
  • Sulwen's Planet
  • Cholwell's Chickens
  • A Practical Man's Guide
  • The Narrow Land
  • The Enchanted Princess
  • Son of the Tree

Lord Valentine's Castle

The Majipoor Cycle: Book 1

Robert Silverberg

Treachery and wizardry run rampant under the reign of the mighty Pontifex, as both the rightful and the unworthy heirs to the throne anxiously await his demise. Korsibar, son of the current Coronal, plots with his twin sister and ambitious companions to seize the power of the Coronal when his father ascends to the throne of the Pontifex.

But the burdens of the crown and scepter exact a higher price than Korsibar is prepared to pay. His rival fights to take his appointed place as keeper of his beloved Majipoor... and to restore order to the utter chaos that has befallen their world.

The Castle of Llyr

The Prydain Chronicles: Book 3

Lloyd Alexander

In the imaginary kingdom of Prydain, Princess Eilonwy must leave her friends to go to the Isle of Mona for training as a proper princess. Because Eilonwy has magical powers, she is sought by Achren, the most evil enchantress in the land. Shortly after her arrival on the Isle of Mona, something sinister and secret befalls her. Eilonwy's loyal friends, Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper; Flewddur, the bard; and Prince Rhun, her intended husband, realize her peril and set out on an exciting and terrifying mission to rescue her. They encounter great forces of evil as well as private, sometimes painful, revelations in the course of their journey.

Cloud Castles

The Spiral: Book 3

Michael Scott Rohan

The Spiral: where past and present meet, where myth and legend infiltrate the mundane world, where Hy Brasil and Babylon are but a short voyage away - via the cloud archipelagos...

You can't always find it - but it can always find you.

And when it finds Steve Fisher again, he is plucked from his lonely life into the heart of a breathtaking adventure. An apocalyptic struggle that has raged for millennia must be resolved - or Fisher may see the dawn of a new Dark Age.

The Castle of the Winds

The Winter of the World: Book 4

Michael Scott Rohan

Centuries before the building of the Great Causeway, when the enveloping Ice seems to be in retreat, the lands of the North and South are on uneasy terms. War appears to be inevitable. But there is still some trade between them, particularly for the peerless weapons created by the Northern mastersmiths.

In one small town, Kunrad, one young mastersmith, has carved out a reputation as a fine armourer. Helped by his two apprentices, the ox-like Olvar and the silver-tongued Gille, Kunrad has created the greatest suit of armour ever made: armour fit for a hero or a king.

When that armour is stolen by a powerful Southern lord, Kunrad has only one concern - to regain it. And so begins an epic journey of discovery, filled with danger, magic - and love.

Tor Double #15: The Last Castle / Nightwings

Tor Double: Book 15

Jack Vance
Robert Silverberg

The Last Castle:

For 700 years the Meks served without complaint; they were indispensable, for no gentleman would demean himself with toil. But now they turn against the strongholds of civilization--Castle Halcyon, then Sea Island, Morninglight, and Maraval--one by one the proud castles of Earth fall; last standing is Castle Hagedorn.

Winner Nebula Award 1966, Hugo award 1967.

Nightwings:

A fabulous tale of pilgrimage and hope, betrayal and transformation by one of science fiction's greatest writers. Only at night on the winds of darkness can she soar. And it was Avluela the Flier's ebony and scarlet wings that lead the Watcher to the seven hills of the ancient city from which, in a moment of weakness, the Watcher failed his vigil, leaving the skies and deep space unguarded. The invaders came and conquered. With Avluela lost in the turmoil of conquest, the Watcher set out alone for the Holy City home of the Rememberers, keepers of the past. This is where the secret of Earth's salvation lay hidden in antiquity. On his journey the Watcher hoped to recapture his youth and find the soaring, beautiful woman he loved. But Avluela held more for the Watcher - and Earth - than love. Her wonder stretched beyond flight, for she knew the riddle that would free all men.

Carpathian Castle

Voyages Extraordinaires: Book 37

Jules Verne

The descriptions of the quaint villagers of Werst, their costumes, manner of living, and belief in the supernatural world would in themselves prove an interesting narrative, but when coupled with the exciting adventures of Nic Deck, the two Counts, the cowardly Doctor, and the beautiful La Stilla, the story is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting ever offered. This mysterious tale takes place in the area which in just a few years would become known as Dracula's homeland. Jules Verne has the knack of it. He knows how to make the scientifically romantic story. You might not know what a "nyctalop" was, but if you saw one flapping his wings around the dark fortress in the Carpathians, you would run for it, as did Nic Deck. Orfanik is head conjurer, and in his trial he explains how he brought into play for a wicked purpose a variety of ingenious inventions. Includes unique illustrations!

Castle Roogna

Xanth Series: Book 3

Piers Anthony

Millie the ghost is beautiful. Of course, she isn't a ghost any more. She's Millie the nurse. She's not especially bright, and she's hardly young. She looks twenty-nine, but actually she's about eight hundred and twenty-nine -- the oldest creature currently associated with Castle Roogna. She had been ensorceled as a maid of seventeen, eight centuries ago, when Castle Roogna was young, and restored to life at the time of Dor's birth. In the Interim she had been a ghost, and the label has never quite worn off.

Millie wants only one man -- Jonathan, and he's a zombie. To prove himself, Magician Dor volunteers to get the potion that can restore Jonathan to full life. But he has to go back through time to do it, to a peril-haunted, ancient Xanth, where danger lurks at every turn.