Mysterion, May 2022
“The Trial of Corin of Westfyr” by K.J. Khan
Reviewed by Seraph
There is a virtue to simplicity, and an unfortunate ease to overcomplication. Sometimes when you have an idea worth writing about, the best thing you can do is let it take center stage and shine. The same applies here: it would have been exceedingly easy for the author to have buried the simple perfection of this story under too many trappings, but the right balance was found. Westfyr is a country of a time long past, a place of tradition and honor… on the surface. Unfortunately it lives under the shadow of an aggressively expansionist neighbor, and fear quickly leads to compromised rulers. Given the order to marry a foreign princess, Corin questions nothing and abandons every previous plan on the word of his sovereign. His new bride is, to put it mildly, unhappy with the arrangement and makes no secret of it. His king summons him to account for her cold behavior, but this is a front to order Corin to murder her in a plot to seize power in her home kingdom. Caught between a wife who quite probably hates him and a sleazy king ordering him to break the powerful oaths he swore during the wedding, Corin finds himself wandering aimlessly and tormented outside the castle wondering what to do. After a surprise encounter he finds himself changed forever, and the echo of the story of Jacob/Israel wrestling the angel is unmistakable. The descriptions are solid but not overdone, the pace moves steadily but is not rushed, and the concepts are cleanly presented and conveyed well.