Fire is five stories about magical creatures born of fire and the people that encounter them. There is Phoenix, a story of an old man that finds the legendary fire bird in a small English forest and is changed in an extraordinary way. In Hellhound a fiery eyed dog from the pound is more than it seems. Fireworm tells of a prehistoric young man that must become one with the spirit world to fight his clan’s ultimate enemy. In Salamander Man a slave must become more than human to fight an invasion of evil wizards. The final tale is First Flight, the story of Ern, a boy that must guide a dragon home.
This is a great collection of stories for almost any fantasy fan. It has very realistic and modern settings in Phoenix and Hellhound and three very different magical settings in the other three tales. It was great to have such variety and I think it will appeal to a large range of fantasy readers. Dickinsion wrote Phoenix, Fireworm, and Salamander Man and of these I would say Fireworm is the best. The ancient world of primitive man is an excellent setting for fantasy because in that time what we see as myth and make believe was reality to people. My favorite of the collection however is McKinley’s Hell Hound. The main character Miri is an animal lover that has a creative mind and finds that her imagination is dead right when she calls her dog Flame a hell hound. The realistic setting and characters make the magical elements really believable and effective. Also check out Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits by the same authors in YP FIC MCKINLEY.