This is an anthology of short sword and sorcery stories with some of them being very hard to qualify as such. If there was ever an anthology called mixed bag, this is the one. The quality of stories ranges from 'timeless classic' (5 stars) to 'why did I waste my time with it' (2 stars). It is also quite easy to predict the quality of a story without reading it using the following algorithm.
Do you often hear about its author? Rate it 5 stars if so.
Have you heard anything about the author at all? Rate it 4 stars.
Is this the first time you learned there was such writer? Rate it anything between 2 and 3 stars with equal probability of each rating; throw a coin if in doubt.
The good parts are really good. Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, and Glen Cook really deliver. David Drake, Poul Anderson, Gene Wolfe, and George R. R. Martin give solid performance. In case of latter add one more star if you are a big fan of his epic as the story takes place in Westeros with some very familiar faces appearing.
I will not waste the time - mine and yours - with the discussion of weaker stories; I just want to mention that “The Adventuress” by Joanna Russ made me say, "WTF?"
On average the rating is 3 stars with the following note: all of the best stories can be obtained elsewhere. “The Tower of the Elephant” is available from countless Conan omnibuses, “The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams” is a story from fifth canonical Elric book, “The Unholy Grail” is the second story from the first book of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series, “Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted With Defeat” is the first story of "Empire Unacquainted With Defeat” anthology and is set in Dread Empire universe. I am sure “Path of the Dragon” will be incorporated in the main storyline if it is not there already.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/908777/a-mixed-bag-of-sword-and-sorcery-stories