Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mercenary's Honor, by Elizabeth Moon

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(Military Fantasy) A fun tale wherein an old mercenary captain's retirement plans are interrupted by a young mercenary sent to fight him. (7,450 words; Time: 24m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆, Average

"Mercenary's Honor," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in Operation Arcana (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: There are no on-stage bad guys in this story; everyone is trying to do his best, and we can understand everyone's motivations. We're very eager for Halveric to be just as honorable as Illanz imagines him to be, and we're delighted when the two end up chatting, not fighting. The ending is thoroughly satisfying.

Con: Almost every aspect of the story is unrealistic on close examination, even though you don't notice them much while reading the story. The captain might want to retire, but it's unlikely that his men would want to do so. And this much honor between mercenaries seems hard to believe. Likewise it's hard to believe this ruse would fool anyone back in the capital city.

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