Kindle AISN: B005I6UPGK / BN ID: 2940012992130
Brayan’s Gold, a novella-length entry in the world of Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man recounts Arlen Bales’s first major job as an apprentice messenger. His job is to ferry a box of thundersticks to Count Brayan’s Gold Mine which lies atop a treacherous mountain. Being Arlen’s first real mission as a messenger, it of course doesn’t go quite so smoothly, which begins when Arlen buts heads with his mentor, Curk. Arlen is much more strong-headed than Curk would like, but having grown up with a father who lived in fear, Arlen sees much of his father in his mentor. When Arlen and Curk are threatened by raiders, Curk runs while Arlen stands up to the bandits, and he later battles the much feared demons who are humanity’s enemy.
In sum, Brayan’s Gold is highly enjoyable episode in Brett’s greater tale that will enjoyed by his existing fans and could serve to draw in new readers. The story has plausible character interactions, tense battles with multiple demons, and highlights of the themes of Brett’s novels – overcoming fear, doing what is right, and an overall sense of adventure. The book includes beautiful illustrations by Lauren K. Cannon who also provides a terrific cover.
Perhaps what is most promising about Brayan’s Gold is how well it showcases Brett’s sheer storytelling ability. He excels at epic novel length fiction and here, he tells a nicely tight story in much les space. Encouragingly, Mr. Brett plans to spin more shorter tales, or rather, give readers some short tales which are excisions from his novels. I for, one look forward to dipping my toe into more stories set in this world.
The short novella sold out very quickly thanks to Brett’s popularity, but thanks to the proliferation of digital publishing and distribution, readers can purchase the novella in electronic format. The novella works well enough for fans of Brett’s already published novels in the series (The Warded Man and The Desert Spear), but for $4.99 is well worth it as a sample for the world he’s created and the storytelling of which he is capable. I would like to see an omnibus of sorts, collecting this short novel, as well as those stories included in The Great Bazaar.
© 2012 Rob H. Bedford