The Book of Magic

Narrated by: full cast
Length: 24 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A new anthology celebrating the witches and sorcerers of epic fantasy - featuring stories by George R. R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Megan Lindholm, and many others!

Hot on the heels of Gardner Dozois’s acclaimed anthology The Book of Swords comes this companion volume devoted to magic. How could it be otherwise? For every Frodo, there is a Gandalf...and a Saruman. For every Dorothy, a Glinda...and a Wicked Witch of the West. What would Harry Potter be without Albus Dumbledore...and Severus Snape? Figures of wisdom and power, possessing arcane, often forbidden knowledge, wizards and sorcerers are shaped - or misshaped - by the potent magic they seek to wield. Yet though their abilities may be godlike, these men and women remain human - some might say all too human. Such is their curse. And their glory.

In these pages, seventeen of today’s top fantasy writers - including award-winners Elizabeth Bear, John Crowley, Kate Elliott, K. J. Parker, Tim Powers, and Liz Williams - cast wondrous spells that thrillingly evoke the mysterious, awesome, and at times downright terrifying worlds where magic reigns supreme: worlds as far away as forever, and as near as next door.

Featuring 16 all-new stories:

"The Return of the Pig" by K. J. Parker, read by Elliot Hill
"Community Service" by Megan Lindholm, read by Karissa Vacker "Flint and Mirror" by John Crowley, read by Sile Birmingham
"The Friends of Masquelayne the Incomparable" by Matthew Hughes, read by Maxwell Caulfield
"The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror: Chapter Two: Jumping Jack in Love" by Ysabeau S. Wilce, read by Susan Denaker
"Song of Fire" by Rachel Pollack, read by Scott Brick
"Loft the Sorcerer" by Eleanor Arnason, read by Bruce Mann
"The Governor" by Tim Powers, read by Holly Palance
"Sungrazer" by Liz Williams, read by Nicholas Guy Smith
"The Staff in the Stone" by Garth Nix, read by Steve West
"No Work of Mine" by Elizabeth Bear, read by Tonya Cornelisse
"Widow Maker" by Lavie Tidhar, read by Stephen Mendel
"The Wolf and the Manticore" by Greg Van Eekhout, read by Almarie Guerra
"The Devil's Whatever" by Andy Duncan, read by Kimberly Farr
"Bloom" by Kate Elliott, read by Kristen Ariza
"The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril" by Scott Lynch, read by Lincoln Hoppe  

with additional narration for introductions and titles by Mark Deakins 

Plus George R. R. Martin's classic story "A Night at the Tarn House", read by John Lee, and an introduction by Gardner Dozois, read by Mark Deakins 

©2018 Gardner Dozois, George R. R. Martin, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear and Garth Nix (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“In The Book of Magic, you get everything you expect and more! Assembling 17 great authors in one place is a difficult job but this book, with a lot of help from editor Gardner Dozois, does just that.... This compilation is a treat for any who love a good fantasy tale.” (Geeks of Doom)

“The final collection from the late, great anthologist and editor Dozois is another superior volume.... All the authors demonstrate adeptness at worldbuilding within the confines of the short story format, bringing the reader into their imagined realms in just a few paragraphs.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[A] celebration of witches, wizards, and sorcerers.” (io9)

What listeners say about The Book of Magic

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

some stinkers mostly good

some good stories in here, great way to find new authors. but a few bad narrators made me skip a few novellas.

4 people found this helpful

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Very Good, With One Objection

I've read a couple of Gardner Dozier-edited collections now, and he typically brings a lot of talent in the way of authors as well as his editorial decisions. This collection is an enjoyable listening experience - I  only found one story difficult to get through, which was a nice change from some of the other collections I've encountered. 


My one objection is that I didn't really think most of these stories were about WITCHES -  at least, not within my own conception of "witch." My definition of a witch is: an individual with special knowledge, who works within a particular religion or belief system to intercede with, to speak to or translate the words of, or to take on the persona of, a god or gods - most often on the behalf of others who do not possess the special knowledge. That knowledge can arrive via formal education, an oral tradition, or through ceremony or communion with deities. The work done by witches is far, far more positive than negative, though some traditions work both sides of the path.


I know this is a broad definition; it works for Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis as well as shamans, wiccans, and much more. I understand that some may be offended by my inclusions, but I stand by them, partly because I want people to understand that the real-world idea of a witch, and what a witch does, has more similarity to the priesthood than the character under Dorothy's house.


Because of this, I'd have enjoyed more stories set in our world, either in the current day or historically - maybe, say, during times, when being labeled a witch could be a death sentence. There's no shortage of material. Practically every human culture, past and present, has contained a genuine "witch" tradition, from curanderos, shamans, and houngans to wiccans, Gardnerians, Strega Nona, Baba Yaga, Rabbi Loew and his golem, the various bodhisattvas and other intercessors of the East… "witch" characters are everywhere. 


Most of the stories in this book are about what I consider "sorcerers " Again, MY definition would be "characters found largely in fiction, who practice magic either simply for its own sake, or to effect elemental changes in the structure of worlds, or (and most often) for the power it provides. The sorcerous characters here mostly occur in other universes, and most of them fit my definition. The stories are largely good, as are the vocal performances - they're just not what comes to my mind when I think of witches. I wish Dozier - or someone - would do a collection of stories about THEM.

1 person found this helpful

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Mixed bag of many authors and narrators

A great book to find new favorite authors, revisit current favorites and compile a black list of authors, characters and narrators.
There are two jack stories in the middle, and a professor monkey that were really bad and did not belong anywhere near George R.R. Martin. Otherwise, overall a good anthology.
The narrators seem to be randomly assigned to the stories with little direction. I love John Lee, but now I think he may be not the best for fantasy (as he is in history), after ruining one of the best stories in the book!

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

All the stories are amazing. The narrator's did an awesome job. Loved it. Definitely going to listen to many more times.

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Hit or miss

I really liked about half the stories, but the other half just didn't grab my attention. The ones that I didn't like were so aggressively bland or uninteresting that I couldn't even give a broad overview of their contents.

1 person found this helpful