This short story collection has at least one famous person (or creature) in each story and more than one in most stories. Most of the stories are humorous and the humor comes from putting modern concepts into historical settings and people. In many of the stories the famous person in question, like Pharaoh Ramses or King Arthur, is very concerned about his public image and changing it in very modern ways: putting a different spin on events or outright lies.

All of the stories have been previously published in short story collections. However, I haven’t read Laura Resnick before. I enjoyed this collection quite a lot.

Camelot’s Greatest Hits: Young Arthur pulls Excalibur from the stone and Merlin tells the boy that he’s now the destined war leader of Britain. But Arthur is a musician, not a fighter nor a ruler. Eventually Merlin allows him to get a band together and Arthur Pen’s Dragons are a hit!

By Any Other Name: The narrator is attracted to creative men but the relationships never last. So now he’s looking for a sane and stable ordinary guy. When he goes on a blind date with a Latin teacher he thinks he has finally found his guy. But there’s something strange about the way the guy talks.

Under A Sky More Fiercely Blue: Set in Sicily during the Second World War, the narrator is a boy who has lost almost his whole family. Then one of the famous men in the organized crime circles returns to the island offering possible relief to the beleaguered country. The boy has a change to help him and be part of history.

The Lily Maid of Astolat: A retelling of the sad story of Elaine of Astolat and an older Lancelot, as seen through the eyes of Elaine’s younger brother Torre.

The Abominable Snowman: The Yeti is really a misunderstood creature: he’s a vegetarian, reads a lot, and dreams of moving far south from the North Pole.

The Fortunes of Temperance
: Temperance is hoping to start a new job and get a Tarot reading from madam Rabinowitz. One the way, she meets her friend Strength and even flits a little with the Knight of Swords.

Qadishtu: co-written with Kathy Chwedyk: Sirara’s son Lahar has the wasting sickness. Even though Sirara is Inanna’s high priestess in Ur, she can’t heal him. But even the most powerful priests in Ur can’t heal him either so she must get him to Dilmun. But the Festival of the New Year is very close and King Ibbi-Sin forbids Sirara from leaving, on pain of death. But Sirara doesn’t care; she takes her son and a few slaves and heads to Dilmun.

The Adventure of the Missing Coffin: A man comes to Sherlock Holmes looking for help. But this time the client is somewhat stranger than usual: his coffin has been stolen.

Licensed to Reclaim: Once again, the world’s most famous spy finds himself captured by his opponent. However, things go a bit differently than usual this time.

Grievous Wounds: After the battle of Camlan, Arthur lays grievously wounded and reminisces about his life and choices.

Those Rowdy Royals!: The marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Louis VII has been annulled. That and the subsequent events in the English Royal Court lead to juicy gossip on the pages of Medieval Times, The Courtly Chronicle, the Norman Rag, and other publications.

The Spin Wizard: The Theban Times and the Elephantine Express are writing about Ramses the Mediocre and not in a flattering way. Fortunately, Imhotep’s spirit knows just what the Pharaoh should do to clean up his image.

Curren’s Song: Curren is a young man who sees and hears things that other people can’t. The people in his village fear and shun him but a newcomer is fomenting outright hatred towards him. One of Curran’s problems is that he doesn’t know if which things only he sees or hears. One of those things is a group of lizardlike creatures in the nearby loch.

The Quin Quart: Do you think that Guinevere is the mostly bland character in Camelot? Perhaps that notion is the fault of the Quin Quartet. In this story, we find out that Guinevere is actually a well-read woman who fights just as much as the knights, if not more. But her subjects couldn’t stomach a woman like that, much less a queen, and she was so unpopular that Arthur and Merlin had to turn to the sons of Lot who remade her into the most popular lady in Medieval times, just as they made Beowulf a famous hero.

Avant Vanguard: Robin Hood is already famous for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, and he does his best to give troubadours new material. But then he meets the rich Earl Vanguard on the road and robs him. The Earl protests that Robin will make him destitute.

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