Welcome to our 2016 52 in 52 series. This year I will be reading 52 Magic: the Gathering novels spanning two decades of Vorthos lore. Each week I’ll share my review of the book along with a synopsis for those of you who are just interested in the core of the story.

52 in 52

This week we’re reading the fifth-ever published Magic the Gathering book, but unlike the last four books this one isn’t a full-length novel. Instead we’re treated to 17 stand-alone short stories, many but not all of which highlight some aspect of 1995 Magic the Gathering. I’ll highlight the 17 stories and how they, in turn, highlight the Magic universe, but first let’s talk a bit about the book as a whole and its place in Magic history.

edited by Kathy Ice

Tapestries so perfectly reflects the beauty and wonder of the early years of Magic’s small Vorthos community. You see, when Magic was in its infancy it was just this really vague Tolkien-esque fantasy game. There were elves and orcs and goblins and knights and wizards and powerful spells and artifacts but there was really no narrative behind them. So Wizards set out to have a bunch of authors build that narrative in a world (or collection of worlds/planes) known as Dominia.

And it was glorious.

It was a simpler time and authors had almost free rein over their content. As we saw in Arena and in the Greensleeves Trilogy the writers had a lot of flexibility in creating the places within the worlds of Dominia and in representing how Magic was “played out” among the Wizards in these worlds. Where these stories really shine is when a single card is given reverence as in Arena with cards like Lord of the Pit and in the Greensleeves Trilogy with card like Tsunami and Nightmare.

In Tapestries we get something even more exciting which is entire short stories crafted around single cards. At the time of its release in July of 1995 the most recent expansions were Fallen Empires (November 1994), Legends (June 1994), and The Dark (August 1994). These sets would all feature prominently in some way in Tapestries.

For example, S.D. Perry crafted an entire short story around the card Rag Man from The Dark. How crazy is that? What an incredibly vague card to build a story around but there it is, giving us all a little glimpse into the world of The Dark. Also coming from The Dark is David Honisberg’s fantastic tale of Goblin war strategies based on the cards Goblin Rock Sled and Mons’s Goblin Raiders. Seriously. Honestly it’s almost worth buying yourself a copy of Tapestries just to read that story which is based on two cards, only one of which has flavor text.


Not enough for you? How about a story about a Black Knight and a Hurloon Minotaur who go from being friends to enemies? How about a Llanowar princess who avenges her poisoned father? What about a Brass Man who saves a young man from being sold into a harem? Ever read a story about the Shanodin Dryads? This book has not one but two such stories!

Overall Rating: 4.0 — I know I sound like an advertisement for buying this book but really if you’re an old school Vorthos or even a new school Vorthos who wants to learn more about the origins of Magic, this book is for you. Not all the stories feature Magic cards. Some only reference the world as an aside while others seem to just be generic stories set in a fantasy world. But that’s the beauty of 1995 Magic. It was a vast landscape ripe for the taking and in early 1996, before the Brothers War, before the Invasion, before the Mending, before Planeswalkers, it was still a place of incredible opportunity and Tapestries takes us all back there.

Next Week’s Book—Distant Planes edited by Kathy Ice

This collection was published  in 1996, a year after Tapestries, and returns with 17 new short stories set in the still fledgling world of Dominia. Four of the authors featured in Tapestries return including Sonia Orin Lyris and Hanovi Braddock, both of whom also wrote full-length Magic novels that we’ll be reading in a few weeks. Also featured in Distant Planes is Robert Vardeman who wrote Dark Legacy, another novel we’ll be reading in a few months.

Since it was published in 1996, Distant Planes’ authors will have had exposure to the Ice Age and Homelands expansions, so hopefully we’ll get some cool stories about the cards from those sets leading up to Jeff Grubb’s Ice Age trilogy which we’ll be reading in May.

Full Disclosure: The images of books in this review will take you to Amazon.com where you can purchase these books (and many more items, so I’m told). If you do so, Hipsters of the Coast will receive a small percentage of your money which will be used to ensure columns like this and many others can continue to exist. Please note that if you click the link then anything you purchase from Amazon in the next 24 hours (even if it isn’t this book) will provide us with a small percentage, so if you want to help support Hipsters of the Coast and need to buy a new vacuum cleaner then click away!

52 in 52 is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.


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