Smith, Clark Ashton

The Averoigne stories of Clark Ashton Smith

Smith(1893-1961) wrote twelve Averoigne stories, ten of which appeared in Weird Tales at some point and are among the most vivid and breathtaking in all of fantasy literature.

Averoigne mythically lies in Southern France.It has one major town, the walled city of Vyones, the seat of the Archbishop and home to a magnificent cathedral. The other important towns and villages are Ximes, Perigon, Sainte Zenobie, Moulins, Les Hiboux, and Touraine. The best road in the province travels between Vyones in the north and Ximes in the south. The river Isoile wends through the center of the province and empties out in a marsh to the south. The most important feature of Averoigne is the thick forest that covers most of the center of the province and gives the region its sinister repute. Other places in Averoigne with sorcerous reputations are the ruined castles of Fausseflammes and Ylrougne.

Smith sprinkles details about the province throughout the stories, although the most straightforward portrait appears in “The Maker of Gargoyles”:

The term ‘haunted’ is applied frequently to the region. For reasons unknown, Averoigne suffers from intrusions of supernatural creatures. Sorcery, although illegal as in all of medieval Europe, lurks in many places, even within the church. The people tolerate a few astrologers and dabblers in the magical arts, but many sorcerers have evil agendas and utilize power described as ‘diabolical’ and hold converse with infernal creatures. 

Centipede Press have finally published all of the Averoigne stories in one stunning volume. Clark Ashton Smith’s unparalleled imagination is complimented by the artwork of David Ho, who has created 12 double-page, full color artworks, one for each story, plus an assortment of small devices.

Combined with stunning illustrations, an oversize format, over 11 inches tall, with four color printing throughout on silky Italian paper. With printed endsheets, ribbon marker, signature page, and cloth binding in Italian Cialux cloth, all wrapped in a stunning dustjacket, this is probably the finest book ever created for Clark Ashton Smith’s works.

Only 200 signed copies were released plus an unknown number of unsigned copies. We have an unsigned copy and must say that it truly is as advertised.