It’s not often we get an opportunity to review work that will not be completed for another year and a half. Nor is it common to find a compilation of short yet cohesive stories spanning, well, a quarter of a very long time. But yet, here we are. Read on, and you will find out how this new collection is and will be all of the above.
Legacy Books Press out of Kingston, Ontario has just begun a project called The Eternity Quartet, a new literary venture with New York Times bestselling author Ed Greenwood and writer/editor/publisher Robert B. Marks. On February 15, 2015, the first installment of the endeavor titled Seizing the Torch was released and soon to be followed by An Evil Wind. Considered groundbreaking, this creative endeavor will be “structured like a symphony, The Eternity Quartet is divided into four movements representing the four seasons, each containing four stories.”
Though this will be a collection of short stories, it can’t really be categorized as an anthology. Rather than having the customary editor select an assortment of works that fit within a specified theme, this assemblage of stories will in fact be an ever-evolving journey which inevitably becomes the theme. Each of sixteen stories will represent small windows along the timeline of the much bigger picture, bridging nearly twenty-five centuries in isolated yet connected adventures.
The first movement or season of The Eternity Quartet is Spring. This is a time when civilization begins to blossom in the fertility of a land left behind by the receding glaciers. It is also the dawn of trying times for the overall development of man as emerging tribes begin to discover the others existence, leading to life and death decisions and sacrifices that will shape the future.
Seizing the Torch by Robert B. Marks is the first short story or sonata-allegro of The Eternity Quartet. The journey begins with a hunting tribe stalking a mammoth heard. They discover that a strange rivaling tribe with “pointed ears” is stalking the same heard. For the sake of the tribe, war becomes inevitable. Yet, as in any war, there are always unexpected casualties. Some are from bloodshed and some are from the results of the bloodshed.
The title Seizing the Torch has just as much character as the participants of the story and probably a lot more influence on the rest of the stories to come. As man begins to grasp the significance of human evolution and the impact his choices has on future civilizations, the true definition of one’s legacy emerges. And by seizing these opportunities, man lights the way for generations to come.
But what man does with these opportunities is where the story grabs the reader and asks the difficult questions. Should you let fear of the unknown dictate and overrule your moral fabric? What do you do with your enemy’s orphans? And eventually, what do we do next?
The second short story titled An Evil Wind by Ed Greenwood will be released on March 15, 2015. And just as promised, this installment is in tune with the first measure. Civilizations have risen and fallen over the millennia, but man is still left with decisions of fate and faith. This time around, the tribe faces a formidable army and inevitable doom.
As an invading force threatens annihilation if the tribe does not surrender, the tribe’s leader must make the ultimate sacrifice. An army of lost souls large enough to fight their battle can be summoned, but the price for such a magical feat is one that only a tribal leader can pay. And sometimes, that does not always go as planned either.
The subtle character naming convention and references of historical figures may link these stories together, but it seems like the overall tone of moral decisions and self-sacrifices in the name of humanity is what truly ties the first to stories together.
As new story measures are gradually released over time, sixteen in all, hopefully the cohesive pieces of The Eternity Quartet will bond together to complete the entire symphony. We’ve only been able to look at small glimpses, and two more stories will make up just the first of four movements. Though plans often change, Amazing Stories does hope to return to the collection as each of the seasonal movements come available.
It should also be noted that the last two stories will be released in late 2016 when the completed anthology is expected to be published in both paperback and e-book form. So while we wait for the rest of The Eternity Quartet journey to be composed by Ed Greenwood and Robert B. Marks, sit back, read, and enjoy the symphony.