Rereading: THE LAST BOOK OF WONDER by Lord Dunsany

Illustrations by Sidney H. Sime

Published in 1916, when Dunsany was serving in World War One (as told in his brief preface), the author seemed to be turning away from the fantasy stories of his earlier books, while at the same time remembering them fondly. Many of the stories have a mundane real-world setting with a single fantasy or horror element, like “Thirteen At Table,” which is a very English ghost story involving fox-hunting. There are a few stories with the old otherworldly flair, as seen in the illustration above by Sime, though the gods of Pegana are absent. The longest story by far is “A Tale of Land and Sea,” which returns to the pirate Captain Shard from an earlier book, this time in the seas of our world. He is pursued by the navies of several nations, and seems to fall into a trap in the Mediterranean Sea, but then unveils his plan to turn his pirate vessel into an actual ship of the desert. Clever and fun. This book is worth reading, but not quite as magical as Dunsany’s earlier short story collections. Still recommended.

The Last Book of Wonder by Lord Dunsany

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.