very best of Kate Elliott

The Very Best of Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott

Cover art by Hugo nominated artist Julie Dillon.

This career retrospective from bestselling author Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars) showcases twenty years of her finest work. With her strong heroines, diverse worlds, and riveting storytelling, Elliott continues to inspire readers and push boundaries.


The Very Best of Kate Elliott

by Kate Elliott

ISBN: 978-1-61696-179-4

Published: February 2015

Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Ebooks

-A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Spring 2015 book
-A Buzzfeed February 2015 Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Book to Read
-An io9 February 2015 Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy pick
-A Fantasy & Science Fiction Book to Look For
-A Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s Pick
-Fantasy Literature Favorite Books of 2015
-Locus 2015 Recommended Reading List: Best Collection


Strong heroines and riveting storytelling are the hallmarks of groundbreaking fantasy author Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars, Crossroads). Her long-awaited first collection showcases twenty years of her finest work. Captured here are many of Elliott’s previously out-of-print tales, four previously unpublished essays, and a brand new Crossroads story, “On the Dying Winds of the Old Year and the Birthing Winds of the New.”

Elliott’s bold adventuresses, complex quests, noble sacrifices, and hard-won victories shine in classic, compact legends. In “The Memory of Peace,” a girl’s powerful emotions rouse the magic of a city devastated by war. Meeting in “The Queen’s Garden,” two princesses unite to protect their kingdom from the blind ambition of their corrupted father. While “Riding the Shore of the River of Death” a chieftain’s daughter finds an unlikely ally on her path to self-determination.

Elliott’s many readers, as well as fantasy fans in search of powerful stories featuring well-drawn female characters, will revel in this unique gathering of truly memorable tales.

Praise for The Very Best of Kate Elliott
[STARRED REVIEW] “Elliott’s delightful first collection contains pieces set in the worlds of her major fantasy series—the Spiritwalker Trilogy, the Crossroads Trilogy, the Crown of Stars series,and theJaran novels—as well as several standalone works and four essays about writing. No familiarity with any of the novels is required to understand the stories set in those worlds, but the existing settings lend depth, complexity, and intrigue to what might otherwise be simple tales. “Riding the Shore of the River of Death,” a bildungsroman about a young female horse-nomad who wants to be a warrior, benefit greatly from the depth of setting, as does the slapstick comedy “To Be a Man,” about a shape-shifting saber-toothed cat with an eye for the ladies. But the standalones especially shine, and the political intrigue and subtle humor that Elliott brings to the fascinating culture and government system of “The Queen’s Garden” make it perhaps the finest work in the book. This collection serves beautifully both as an introduction to Elliott and as a treat for fans who want more of her marvels.”
Publishers Weekly

“Powerful, vivid, masterful—The Very Best of Kate Elliott is a touchstone for the legacy of women in writing and in history.”
San Francisco Book Review

The Very Best of Kate Elliott does an excellent job of displaying Elliott’s multi-faceted creativity, her huge talent for inventing a variety of worlds without ever sacrificing the sparkling little details in each one that make her writing so compelling.”
—Katherine Kerr, author of the Deverry Cycle

“Elliott (Cold Steel; Labyrinth of Stars) has built a career out of creating memorable worlds and populating them with strong, amazing women (and the men who love them). While the longer form gives her a bigger canvas, Elliott proves here she can make those same fantastic worlds and characters in short form…. Elliott excels at describing her brilliant worlds, employing a meticulous eye for the significant detail that illuminates a whole landscape.”
Library Journal

“Collecting stories set in worlds both familiar (including the settings of the Spiritwalker books and her Jaran quartet) and new, as well as non-fiction essays about writing, it makes an excellent introduction to the work of one of epic fantasy’s most reliably fantastic writers.”
Barnes & Noble

“Elliott is a writer of remarkable talent and sensitivity. . . . This is, truly, a demonstration of the very best of Elliott’s abilities.”
Fantasy Literature

“[Elliott’s] writing is gorgeously toned and filled with evocative imagery. She’s been a well-respected, prolific fantasy author for decades, and she’s no slouch with science fiction, either. (Also, she used to fight in the SCA in full freaking armor.)”
Barnes &, Sam Reader

“Intricate and enthralling. This really is the best of Kate Elliott.”
—Seanan McGuire, author of Rosemary and Rue

“Kate Elliot fits more rich and complex writing into her short pieces than many authors manage at novel length, tackling the social fabric of SF&F with clarity and grace.”
—Tanya Huff, author of the Keeper’s Chronicles and The Enchantment Emporium

“If you’re a fan of Kate Elliott’s fantasy novels, then you know she knows how to tell an epic. But remarkably Elliott is one of those rare writers who is also able to distill that sense of an epic fantasy novel into the short form. For fans of epic storytelling, this is a collection not to be missed.”
—John Joseph Adams, series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy and editor of Lightspeed Magazine

“I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy fantasy and science fiction, but also people who want to expand their social consciousness. This is an excellent, enjoyable, thought-provoking book.”
Snowflakes & Spider Silk

“This is a great collection, a fun collection, an important collection, a highly recommended collection. The Very Best of Kate Elliott is the very best that genre fiction can offer.”
Book Smugglers

 “Brilliant…a must-read for anyone who likes their women badass and their fantasy epic.”
There Are Inkspots On My Page

“Fans of her novels should not hesitate to pick up The Very Best of Kate Elliott; readers new to her work can find the themes and style of the author in evidence in this collection….”
SF Signal

“There is no better time than now to become acquainted with Kate Elliott’s wonderful worlds and I look forward to enjoying the perspective, voice, and talent she brings to epic fantasy for years to come.”
A Dribble of Ink 

“extraordinary richness…this collection swiftly outpaces detailed discussion.”

“[A] delicious collection…. A feminist titan in the fantasy/science fiction industry, Elliott’s writing is just like magic!”
Sufficiently Distracted

“Overall then, this is an excellent collection of short stories; they serve to showcase Elliot as a real talent, and one whose work is deserving of both attention and praise.”
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

“It’s an absorbing read, for anyone who enjoys sci fi, fantasy, blending of the two, excellent characters, Elliot’s previous work, or dang good storytelling. Or all of the above.”
Nerds in Babeland

“…lyrical prose, wrapping the reader up into each world with every syllable…. an excellent collection of short stories.”
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

About the Author

Kate Elliott is the pen name for Alis Rassmussen, the author of the bestselling epic fantasy series Crown of Stars, the Crossroads Trilogy, and most recently, the Spiritwalker series. Forthcoming is her debut YA fantasy, Mask, described as “Little Women meets the Count of Monte Cristo.”

Praise for Kate Elliott

“Elliott pulls out all the stops in a wildly imaginative narrative that will ring happy bells for fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.”
Publishers Weekly

“Elliott has concocted something very special and original here, with elements to tweak sci-fi and fantasy fans of nearly any stripe, from alt history and steampunk aficionados, to lovers of intrigue, romance, and swashbuckling adventure.”
New York Journal of Books

“A world of depth and color…once you’re caught up in the story, you’re going to spend many pleasant hours.”
SF Chronicle

“Fans of steampunk and alternate history will enjoy this heady mix of magic and technology.”
Library Journal

“High fantasy…entirely captivating.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Elliott’s writing keeps getting better. She handles a cast roughly the size of The Iliad’s and still makes each personality distinct, and she excels at depicting quiet character moments.”

“An exuberant narrative with great energy and inventive world building… I utterly loved it”
Fantasy Book Critic

“A broad, adventurous novel that draws successfully from historical fiction, SF, and even romance writing in creating its background and interpersonal tensions.”
Science Fiction Chronicle

“A rich, enthralling adventure that left me wanting more.”

“Just when you think you know where this epic is going, Ms. Elliott impressively pulls the carpet right out from under your feet and opens up dazzling new vistas for your imagination to savor.”
Rave Reviews

“This engrossing saga should appeal to fantasy lovers and fans of historical epics alike.”
Library Journal

A Buzzfeed February 2015 pick

 “A fantastic collection. . . . Whether you are familiar with Elliott’s writing or not, this collection comes highly recommended, as it is a great introduction to her writing as well as a great retrospective.”
Fantastical Librarian

 “Elliott’s characters dominate the pages, and live on when the stories are over. If this were the best of collection by an author who had published five hundred short stories you wouldn’t expect it to be any better.”

Visit the Kate Elliott website.

Table of Contents

The Queen's Garden
Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine
Riding the Shore of the River of Death
The Gates of Joriun
Making the World Live Again
With God to Guard Her
A Simple Act of Kindness
To Be a Man
The Memory of Peace
My Voice is My Sword