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To Hold the Bridge: Tales from the Old Kingdom and Beyond

(Abhorsen #4.5)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,035 ratings  ·  425 reviews
A masterful short story collection including a rarely seen OLD KINGDOM novella.

Garth Nix proves he is a master of the short story with this intriguing collection of tales. Leading with the novella TO HOLD THE BRIDGE, fans of Garth Nix will be more than satisfied with the richly detailed and thrilling tale of Charter Magic and a deathly duel. Fans new and old will delight i
Paperback, 504 pages
Published June 4th 2015 by Hot Key Books
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James While many of Garth Nix's books can be read as stand alone, I recommend start with Sabriel, Liriel and Abhorsen in that order. They are fabulous books…moreWhile many of Garth Nix's books can be read as stand alone, I recommend start with Sabriel, Liriel and Abhorsen in that order. They are fabulous books and you won't regret reading them. (less)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  3,035 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Oct 30, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw this, I thought it was a sequel to the Abhorsen trilogy, finally... and then I read the description.

Everything about this collection is amazing. It's like Garth Nix just decided to publish all of his fan fiction about the science fiction and fantasy classics that influenced him (and about his own work). There's a Hellboy story, a John Carter story, and a Sherlock Holmes story (sort of)--I might have fallen out of my bed when I read that one--to say the least. It's obvious that Nix enjoyed writing and compiling this collection.

The title story confirms my suspicions since reading Lirael: that
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories, every one of them imaginative and interesting. Nix has a true talent for innovative worldbuilding, and any one of these short stories holds the seeds and hints of a complex and fascinating context that surrounds it. A few of them relate to other book series by Nix, but generally they're tantalizing glimpses that I would love to see fleshed out further.

"To Hold the Bridge"--Morghan's ramshackle parents left him just one thing of value: a share in the Worshipful Comp
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
I’ve been trying to figure out how to review this book for a while now. Do I talk about each short story separately, can I rate them individually? While it pleases my analytical mind to do so, I decided against doing that because this collection is offered in a bound book and therefore should be treated as such. But in doing so, because of the diversity in terms of narrative, stories and characters, I can’t do my normal in-depth review.

So instead I’ll talk about the collection as a whole.

Garth N
Rachel (Kalanadi)
I can be very hit or miss with Garth Nix's work. I adore the original Old Kingdom trilogy, enjoyed the heck out of the first few Keys to the Kingdom books, and like a few other things here and there....and *really* don't get along with others. This collection encapsulates all of that.

I liked the Old Kingdom novella "To Hold the Bridge" a lot. "A Handful of Ashes" was great (why yes, I do have a thing for women's magical universities...), and "Ambrose and the Ancient Spirits of the East and West"
For a short story collection, this was pretty great. Garth Nix's imagination can be a wonderful place, but also a scary one. Ugh, he is so creepy sometimes. The highlight was the first story, a novella set in the Old Kingdom from his Abhorsen series, which is one of my favorites. But there were also a couple of stories in here I loved, and would like to see more stories set in their respective worlds. Short reviews of each of the stories can be found in my status updates. ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2019-read
I enjoyed the various stories in here. I definitely wouldn't have kept them straight if it wasn't for the different narrators! They helped break up each story so I knew when one was over for sure. My favorites was the Old Kingdom novella and Holly & Iron.

I enjoyed seeing all the vampire stories in this anthology too. Nix clearly has a talent for story telling and it shows with the various topics and genres each story encompasses. I think I would've enjoyed this more had I read it since I didn't
Marshall T
The titular story "To Hold the Bridge" was good...the others were so so. A lot of the stories finished as soon as they were actually getting interesting or good; I would have liked to have them either connect to books or have them be longer themselves. ...more
A collection of Nix's short stories, most of which are fantasy or paranormal based, but with a smattering of sci-fi thrown in for good measure.

Look, as is always the case with Garth Nix, the writing was compelling, and the characters were mostly intriguing. The problem here for me was that it's a very hard sell to do epic fantasy in short story form. You not only have to introduce the characters and the plot, but you have to create an entire magic system or build a whole fantasy world in about
Jenny Jo Weir
19 short stories total of which I didn't care for maybe 5 of them.

I liked: The diversity and creativity of most of the stories.

I didn't like: That once I got into a story, it was over and a new one started.

I guess I'm just used to being able to follow a story through all the way and I like getting invested in the characters, but just as I began to do so with most of these, it would end and a new one would begin.

Still, if you are in the mood for diversity and want to check out multiple short s
What I loved about this was how Nix consistently (but not frequently) adds to the Old Kingdom world. I like that he's been taking his time because each story or book that comes out is a little precious nugget. Il the other short stories were so enjoyable for me that I wish he would turn some of them into books! ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was a great book i would highly recommend it ,it was fun and exciting it kept you on your toes ,and you always want to know whats going to happen next. it was thrilling and it stimulated your imagination.
So much fun! I initially picked To Hold the Bridge up because of the eponymous Old Kingdom novella but ended up enjoying almost all of the other stories.

Garth Nix is extremely gifted at varied world-building and he also has a knack for quickly establishing characters that draw you in and also fit into their respective worlds. He is also excellent at creating compelling female characters and is the first male author I think of when looking for examples of well-written teen girls.

This collection
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, so if your question is "how many Garth Nix books is too many to read in a row" the answer is apparently "SEVEN."

I actually remember having Nix-exhaustion after reading his Keys to the Kingdom series, which is also seven books. Also, I've discovered that I like Nix as a novelist, I'm not sold on Nix as a short story writer. I'm NEVER as engaged by his short stories as I am by his novels, not even close. So, yeah, I'm ending this journey with a "meh" although the first three Abhorsen novels a
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I'll admit, I was mostly excited about this collection due to the Old Kingdom novella included in it, because the Old Kingdom series is one of my favourites- every year since I first read the series, I re-read it, and it never loses its magic and wonder and adventure for me. This tale, the titular "To Hold the Bridge" was interesting and fun, and it was nice to return to the Charter. However, I found that I really loved the other short stories, particularly "Vampire Weather," "A Handful of Ashes ...more
This is a collection of short stories and novelettes by Garth Nix that cover the whole spectrum of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, etc.). I liked most of them; a couple were okay or a little confusing; a few were excellent. The writing overall is exceptional.

The audiobook has six or so different narrators. The stories include fan fiction for Hellboy, John Carter, and Sherlock Holmes.
Stephen Stewart
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I didn’t realize I was reading another short story anthology until it was too late. Still, I generally adore Nix’s works, and several of his short stories shine with their world building and creativity. Two of his stories seem more fit for a different short story anthology than here though. Here are some quick thoughts about each short story:

“To Hold the Bridge” – While I enjoyed the opening of the story, especially since I am a fan of the Old Kingdom books, I found the ending too rushed and pat
   I read this to get another Old Kingdom story. What I got was SO much more…

   While this anthology starts out with a solid addition to the Old World tales (with a rather average protagonist, on top of that!), the variety of fantasy and science-fiction tales that follows easily overshadows it. Their breadth and diversity, their unique reinterpretations of the usual supernatural creatures and legends (for example, vampires and Arthurian legends), of coming-of-age tales and old war stories, of tw
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So... I mistakenly thought this was another book in the Old Kingdom trilogy.

What a fantastic mistake this ended up being!

I may actually like Nix's short stories even more than the Old Kingdom books. Nix's writing style is the perfect example of the "show, don't tell" rule of thumb; this translates so well when it comes to short stories.

Highlights include "Vampire Weather" (with a modern day vampire pandemic and volunteer vampire fighter groups), "The Quiet Knight" (when "Wonder" meets "Role M
Spencer Borup
*UPDATE* I'm raising my 4 stars to a full 5. This is one of the greatest short story collections I've ever read. So fun—and the audiobook's narrators are excellent! A few stories toward the end kind of taper off the excitement for me, but not nearly enough for me to not recommend this book to everyone! *UPDATE FINISHED*

Any review of a Garth Nix work should begin with explaining that he is a master of imaginative, full, unique, fascinating world-building. His characters always seem to be doing of
GARTH NIX IS AMAZING. Those of you who know me or follow my blog will be aware of this opinion. I want to write short stories like he can. I've encountered a couple of these in other short story collections, but overall they were amazing. I particularly liked the ones about witches and technomancy and of course the actual story To Hold the Bridge was excellent. a thoroughly entertaining, overall amazing read, and it was fun to see some other story universes explored (some of these concepts serio ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I really enjoyed the title short story in this collection. And some of the others were equally gripping, but a couple left me cold.
Daniel Shellenbarger
A collection of short stories, To Hold the Bridge includes the 2nd best thing that Garth Nix ever wrote, namely the eponymous short story, "To Hold The Bridge," which is a one-off novella set in the Old Kingdom of the Abhorsen books. That story follows a young man who seeks his fortune by joining a company with the unenviable task of building a bridge that will survive the many natural and unnatural dangers of the Old Kingdom. It's a shame that it's only 50ish pages long because this is a fantas ...more
Zeke Gonzalez
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix paints vibrant pictures of alternate worlds and the varied characters and monsters that inhabit them. There are mysterious aliens, violent unicorns, science fiction vampires (as well as classic ones), ancient spirits and Gods, nuclear dragons, guardian angels, and a host of other fantastical landscapes and beings. Most importantly, Nix doesn't simply tell us about these places and the creatures that inhabit them, he immerses us in their stories and shares with us ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This concludes my (re-)read of the Old Kingdom series, including short stories. To Hold the Bridge was actually the only reason I picked up this collection of short stories. It was a good read, and a nice dip into an earlier period in the Old Kingdom, which in my eyes delivered better than Clariel (if only because there was more Charter magic and the whole bridge setting was interesting). The main character really grew on me, and the ending was really strong, tense and touching all at once.

Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not think I am one for short stories really. I find them fun and interesting, but unless they are set in a world I already know they get hard to follow. You are dropped into a world for just a short while, and not given the time to fully explore that world. I read this short story collection because the title story, To Hold the Bridge, is set in the Old Kingdom world I have loved since I was a child. That story was extremely good, probably 4/5 stars by itself.

The rest of the stories are hi
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy, the-dead
I bought this book specifically for the Old Kingdom story, and it did not disappoint - Garth Nix's writing is great and I found myself back in the Old Kingdom again.

The rest of the stories are loosely grouped into themes and pretty much all of them were gripping. I always forget how much I enjoy short stories, they're opportunities to explore a facet of an existing series, or a vehicle for those 'what if' thoughts you have down the pub with friends or late at night.
Eli Claire
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this short story collection much more than the last one, but it still took me quite a while to finish. I was glad that the stories were separated into genres, and that the Old Kingdom story at the beginning was long (though I wish I could have been longer)!
See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe Books

Thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy!

I was pleasantly surprised when I came home from school to a package saying I was selected to read To Hold the Bridge early for the Epic Reads early reader program (I can't find any information on it anymore, but it was a thing.). Unfortunately, since I'm not really a fan of short stories, it was hard for me to get through this one - I just find that I lose momentum and don't feel the need to keep read
Megan Lowde
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
To Hold the Bridge
4/5 stars - Now this I really enjoyed, and I could have done with it being made into a full length novel really. Morghan was a very intriguing character, as was Amiel - I still want to know why a Clayr was so far away from the Glacier! - and they were also very endearing. It helps that I'm instantly interested with anything to do with the Old Kingdom, but the Bridge Company turned out to be surprisingly very interesting. It was nice learning more about them and the inner wo
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Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.


Other books in the series

Abhorsen (5 books)
  • Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)
  • Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)
  • Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)
  • Clariel (Abhorsen, #4)
  • Goldenhand (Abhorsen, #5)

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