Thursday, May 3, 2018

Argent and Sable, by Matthew Hughes

★★★★☆ Good, Sword & Sorcery Fun

(Fantasy Adventure; Baldemar) After testing out his newly given “blessing of good luck,” Baldemar needs to get out of town for a while. Fortunately, his master has just the adventure for him: to find the “Gantlets of Enduring Grasp.” (14,248 words; Time: 47m)

Although this is part of a series, it’s perfectly enjoyable without reading the prior episodes

"Argent and Sable," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|18, published on by .

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

Pro: Although Baldemar’s luck is clearly working for him most of the time, it’s amusing to note that it doesn’t make that much difference—which says a lot about how plausible the average sword-and-sorcery adventure really is.

But what an adventure this is! Baldemar is captured, rescued by an old friend, confronts a murderous demon, is possessed by the malevolent spirit of a dead magician, solves the puzzle of the gantlets, and even figures out how to get his friend’s exile revoked. Some of this is luck, but much of it is Baldemar’s own cleverness.

It’s also to his credit that he’s uneasy with the changes the Helm of Sagacity made to him. Yes, he’s an effective killer now, but it bothers him that he’s not bothered enough by the people he’s killed.

And, of course, there are plenty of humorous moments to lighten the mood.

Con: It’s not very tightly written; for example, Baldemar spends a fair amount of time in Woster’s caravan, but ultimately the only thing important to the plot about that part of the adventure is that he picks up a horse. Likewise, he meets the crazy person who says “Grip the gripper and the gripper grips ya” but other than a vague (and obvious) reference to the gantlets and the demon, it’s never explained and nothing comes of it.

It has the strong feeling of a middle story; Baldemar develops a bit more and collects another artifact, but that’s about it.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 05-06|18)
Matthew Hughes Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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