These stories were born out of a discussion on themed collections with the Canadian writer Claude Lalumiere. They are diverse in every way except that each one of them has a metal element at its heart.
'The Maskmaker' was the first to be written, a story set in an early Venice and has gold as its theme. Silver comes next, but there follows tales of robots made of lead, cyborgs who are addicted to drinking mercury, aliens obsessed with shiny chromium, a nickel coin worth a fortune and many others.
The tales end with a false element, Erifium, the metal from which the sword that St Michael wields against demons in the battle of Armageddon is fashioned.