Friday, November 15, 2019

A Geas of the Purple School, by Matthew Hughes

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Fantasy Adventure; Baldemar) Baldemar and Vunt investigate a murder that has unsettling connections to the ruling Duke’s family and involves an unusual magical spell. (15,349 words; Time: 51m)

Recommended By: 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

You don’t need to read the rest of the Baldemar stories to enjoy this one, and this one is almost self-contained, but the last scene sets up the action for the next story, so it has something of an incomplete feeling.

"A Geas of the Purple School," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 11-12|19, published on by .

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

Review: 2019.647 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The best part of any Baldemar story is usually Baldemar himself, and he doesn’t disappoint. The surrounding muddle of the various schemes related to the Ducal succession provides the background of the story, but the real fun is watching Baldemar and Vunt move from clue to clue as they try to track down the murderer.

My favorite scene was when they bring Rumi to the torture chamber, but rather than torture him, they get one of their staff, “to shriek and plead for mercy a few times.” Then, playing good cop and bad cop, Vunt asks the man his name, and when he says, “Rumi,” Baldemar immediately lunges forward, shouting “Liar!”

Con: Arguably the main action of this story does wrap up; Baldemar and Vunt learn all about who committed the murder and why. However, a wizard teleporting the two of them away for reasons of his own leaves the story definitely feeling unfinished.

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Matthew Hughes Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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