Friday, March 8, 2019

The Plot Against Fantucco's Armor, by Matthew Hughes

[F&SF]
★★★★☆ Nice adventure, with lots of twists.

(High Fantasy Thriller; Baldemar) Baldemar is implicated in a plot to interfere with the royal succession, and the young man needs to find the real culprit to avoid taking the blame himself. (13,268 words; Time: 44m)

Recommended By: 👍RSR+1 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

If you haven’t read any of the other stories in the Baldemar series, this one makes for a good introduction.

"The Plot Against Fantucco's Armor," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 03-04|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.142 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Baldemar may be extra lucky, but he has no trouble falling into peril, and this adds enough tension to the story to keep it exciting. Likewise, the mystery is complicated enough that merely unravelling it is entertaining, particularly since we have to figure out all three of a) what’s planned, b) who’s the target, and c) who’s behind it, with plenty of false guesses and twists.

Baldemar continues to be likeable and competent, but not overpowered. The conclusion is satisfying, with the promise of more stories to come.

The dialogue and narration are excellent throughout, and it’s of particular note that the author manages to explain everything that’s going on without ever resorting to an info dump.

On a side note, I appreciated the cute reference to Cordwainer Smith. There are also a few references to other Baldemar stories which reward the regular reader without troubling new readers.

Con: It’s a great adventure, but not particularly moving. The closest it gets to an emotional moment is the point where Vunt saves Baldemar from the torturer.

Baldemar himself doesn’t change at all during the story nor does he learn anything profound. In that regard, he’s a bit like Travis McGee in the John D. McDonald detective novels.

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Matthew Hughes Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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