An entire story-cycle in miniature. One thousand years of the remarkable magical history of a secret region of Spain where few people venture even now. Albarracín is a rose-red town tucked away in the mountains of Lower Aragon. Once the seat of an independent taifa during the dominance of the Caliphate of Cordoba, it remained saturated with ancient mystery long after the separated kingdoms of the peninsular were forged through conquest into the single nation we know today. In Albarracín still lurk the djinn of the wondrous past in their dusty bottles and the ghosts of heroes and villains locked in the crucibles of a rogue alchemist.
As Alarcon once wrote, “A happy time it was when our land still remained in peaceful possession of all the spider's webs, dust, woodworm, respect, faith, traditions, uses and abuses sanctified by the centuries!”
Above the roofs of the crumbling town serenely float the clouds; but these are not mindless puffs of vapour. On the contrary, they control the destinies of those who dwell below. In a modern world where the East is trying too hard to become the West, only Albarracín has successfully reversed the trend; for in this place the West always was the East; and the true flavour of Oriental magic remains bright on the tips of the swords, in the pulse of the hearts and on the rims of the cups of the men and gods who enter therein.
This new edition contains two stories not included in the original - Señor Chimera’s Hysterical History and The Bone Throwers.
Rhys Hughes was born in 1966. Tartarus Press published his first collection, Worming the Harpy, in 1995, and since that time he has published more than thirty other books. His fiction is generally fantastical and his output mainly consists of short stories, though he has published several novels. His work is frequently compared to that of Boris Vian, Flann O'Brien and R.A. Lafferty, but he cites his major influences as Italo Calvino and Donald Barthelme. His three most recent books are the collections Bone Idle in the Charnel House (Hippocampus Press), Orpheus on the Underground (Tartarus Press) and Brutal Pantomimes (Egaeus Press). Fascinated by paradoxes, he incorporates them into his fiction as entertainingly as he can. Sangria in the Sangraal was inspired by a real visit to the town of Albarracín in the year 2007.