Saffron & Brimstone


America boasts no finer, more acclaimed or accomplished literary fantasist than Elizabeth Hand. Poetry, magic, and love intermingle as she tears down the walls that separate the mundane from faerie and fancy. In this stunning collection of eight “strange stories,” the multiple Nebula Award– and World Fantasy Award–winning author weaves spells that enrapture her readers, ranging freely from Greek mythology to the contemporary nightmares of AIDS and 9/11. The celebrated chiller “Cleopatra Brimstone” chronicles the aftermath of a brutal rape and the bizarre transformation of a young entomology student into a vengeful angel of death. An emotionally unmoored tattoo artist discovers an unusual deck of tarot cards that enables her to profoundly alter bare skin and her personal reality in the mind-expanding masterwork “The Least Trumps.” An artist attempts to capture her wayward modern-day Odysseus in oils and otherwise; a woman tragically in love isolates herself from a catastrophe-prone world; the death of a dear friend inspires profound personal reflections and strange pagan rituals; and in the brilliant concluding story, an artifact from a lost world reveals the inescapable vulnerability of our own. Odd and touching, provocative and disturbing, the selections in this magnificent collection showcase a master of the fantastic at the very peak of her storytelling powers.

AWARDS: 2002 World Fantasy Award nominee (“Cleopatra Brimstone”), 2002 International Horror Guild Award winner (“Cleopatra Brimstone”), 2003 World Fantasy Award nominee (“The Least Trumps”)


Remarkable... In Hand’s beautifully orchestrated tales... a world whose gorgeous fragility, like the pistils of those tulips that are gathered for saffron, positively glows.
— Locus
The entire collection further confirms Hand as an author of extraordinary vision who is unafraid to dream in new directions.
— Fantasy Magazine
Myth and magic are the ingredients assembled to sometimes stunning effect in this vivid gathering of previously collected and recently published stories from the award-winning fantasy author.
— Kirkus Reviews

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