Kimberly Richardson–photographer, anthologist, novelist, and short-story writer, whose books include Tales from a Goth Librarian, Mabon and Pomegranate, and The Decembrists–has given The Forty this fine review on her blog:
The Forty [is] a delightful idea brought to life by photographer Fox Gradin and writers Kathryn Hinds and James Palmer. The concept is this: deep in the Cave of Wonders are the Forty Thieves of Ali Baba. However, Ali Baba is away on an adventure, and so the thieves decide to tell their stories to each other to pass the time. Whoever had the best story would win all of the bottles of the Forty and enjoy a very good drink. The Forty are men and women, cowboys, samurai, petty thieves, and vampires, and each story is compelling. A photo of the thief accompanies each story, breathing life into the tales and the diversity of the Forty.
Although I enjoyed reading each story, my personal favourites were The Dandy Dealer, Duo Marceau, Jenny Cutpurse, Phantom of the Dunes, and Fortunato. To me, those stories stood out in my mind due to the “interactions” the thieves went through before they arrived at the Cave of Wonders. At the end of the book are the stories of Morgiana and Kasim, Ali Baba’s brother; they explain the real reason behind the Forty and why Ali Baba used such measures to lead them to the Cave of Wonders. I found it to be a rather interesting ending and would love it if there was a “sequel”. This is a book worth reading again and again!