Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Soul Behind the Face, by Adam-Troy Castro

★★★★☆ Recommended

(SF Action/Adventure; Draiken) Draiken used to be a spy, but now he wants revenge on his former masters, and he has a complicated plan to enlist a former associate. (17,711 words; Time: 59m)

Recommended By: πŸ†Readers+0 πŸ‘RSR+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 10|16, published on by .

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

Review: 2016.678 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The surface plot is simply about Draiken trying to find Thorne and recruit her to his cause. The big twist, of course, is that the sleeper isn't Thorne--it's "The Woman." The whole rest of the subterfuge is apparently intended to a) attract attention from his old bosses to make it easier to figure out whom to target next and b) show Thorne that he's still got what it takes. Perhaps a side effect is that Thorne won't be safe in her current role, given that the local constabulary seems to know all about her (well, not all.)

The greatest strength of the story is the tension, which starts almost from the first page and doesn't let up until Draiken heads up for his big confrontation with Thorne.

Con: Although there is some effort to make Draiken a sympathetic character (it's sad the way he cherishes the illusion of even a dysfunctional relationship), it doesn't quite work.

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