Hard-working Wurts pauses from her projected five-volume Wars of Light and Shadow fantasy (Curse of the Mistwraith, 1994) to gather up some stories. ``The Wayfinder,'' about a mysterious sailor and a pragmatic young woman who discovers her gift for remote viewing, is thoughtful and moodily satisfying, and the animal lore of ``Silverdown's Gold'' seems authentic and compassionate. Wurts's pure fantasies are filled with concrete details and have an eerie believability, but she is less successful when she appends fantasy to a realistic situation, as in the title story, where a miserable young woman is tending her dying nephew. The nephew's desire is to visit Camelot, and, forcing events in a most unlikely way, Wurts sees to it that he does. A surprise, though, is Wurts's skill with hard sf, demonstrated in several stories here featuring the same characters in military situations reminiscent of the original Star Trek and Robert Heinlein's juveniles--and better than either. In the startling ``No Quarter,'' a vain commander is ambushed by a clever pirate; the commander then proceeds to cover up his errors by exploding his ship and crew. Headquarters deduces what he has done but concludes that such ruthlessness is precisely what they want. Wurts's mixture of fantasy and hard sf is a little jarring, perhaps, but this is a compassionate, cynical, smart collection.