The Condemnation of Crow

Review: The Condemnation of Crow, ed. Joel Jenkins, 2017.

Cover by Damon Orrell

From the days right after Civil War to 1925 and from New Orleans to England, Jenkins continues the saga of Lone Crow.

In eight stories and a couple of pieces of flash fiction, Jenkins adds to Crow’s legend. Wyatt Earp shows up again, this time joined by noted Old West attorney Temple Houston and gunslinger Luke Short.

Jenkins’ author’s note frankly admits he doesn’t feel obliged to follow the actual timeline of his historical characters. Morgan and Warren Earp meet different ends here than in history, and a story in The Coming of Crow implies Crow first met Wyatt years later than here.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson show up here, the former insisting on a rational reason for one of the supernatural menaces Crow is always encountering.

To the group of Crow’s former enemies and bounties turned allies is added Isidro Acevedo. It’s from him Crow gets his signature Colt Peacemaker though we still don’t get the details about that night when it was blessed by a Prophet and the dead rose from the earth.

And there are the women that catch Crow’s eyes and sympathies but only occasionally his physical attentions.

There are far fewer Lovecraftian monsters from deep time or extra dimensions here, but we do get a sinister lost Mesoamerican race among other things.

This is barely an anthology and only because of Josh Reynolds “The Third Death of Henry Antrim”. It features Reynolds’ occult detective Charles St. Cyprian, and Crow only makes an off-stage contribution. Old West buffs will, of course, know a bit of what to expect by the name Henry Antrim.

Jenkins’ retconning of history didn’t bother me that much because the stories are so good, and he stretches himself to novel length in the title story.

Crow has already continued the Lone Crow tales beyond what’s in these first two books, and I’m eager for the third.


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