The Last Hieroglyph includes, in chronological order, all of Clark Ashton Smith's stories from "The Dark Age" to "The Dart of Rasasfa."
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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-02-28
- Reviewer: Staff
The fifth and final volume in this definitive collection (following Red World of Polaris and The Maze of the Enchanter) reveals Smith in the twilight of his career. As the editors note, Smith, "A stranger in a world he never made nor lived in happily or comfortably," excelled at creating vivid, phantasmagorical worlds, from the rugged Hyperboria of "The Seven Geases" to the lush post-apocalyptic setting of "The Dark Age." Ordered chronologically as they were composed, these works also reveal recurring themes, like deadly obsession in "The Treader of the Dust," "The Garden of Adompha," and "Nemesis of the Unfinished." Heroes strive but fail against power-hungry sorcerers in "The Death of Malygris," "The Seven Geases," and "Necromancy in Naat." Alternate worlds claim the unwary in "The Primal City," "Symposium of the Gorgon," and "The Great God Awto," while "The Chain of Aforgomon," "Double Cosmos," and the title story draw readers into recursive realities worthy of Borges. Readers seeking dense, ornate fantasies will enjoy these classic stories knit from flickering shadows, dark secrets, and twisted magic. (Jan.)