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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Grimdark #18, January 2019

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Grimdark, #18, January 2019

Rage Wolf” by Andy Remic

Hunger and the Lady” by Peter McLean
Hatred for Heroes” by Cameron Johnston

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

The 18th issue of Grimdark has three strong stories, one of which is a novelette.

Rage Wolf” by Andy Remic

This fantasy novelette has Dek, an old pit fighter, called into action once more. Dek’s hated ex-wife reveals he’s the father of a twelve-year-old daughter, Elise, and that a powerful general has kidnapped her to be a prostitute.

Despite not trusting his ex-wife, who still hates him, Dek goes to the Red Tower to release Elise. But the Red Tower is steeped in a blood history that will not make Dek’s task easy.

The story read like a small novel, full of plots and sub-plots, making for an interesting tale with an unexpected ending.

Hunger and the Lady” by Peter McLean

The inhabitants in the city of Messia are starving to death in this short fantasy. Billy did his best to feed his mother and sister during the siege, but now he’s alone and too young to survive with anything else but his wits.

Starving and at death’s door, Billy gets some unexpected help, and also reveals a new side to himself. One that even he was unaware of.

This nicely crafted, character-centric, story was a difficult one to put down before the intriguing end.

Hatred for Heroes” by Cameron Johnston

Johnston’s short fantasy horror tale is set in a land purged of an evil lord ten years before. But in freeing the land, the new King has killed many innocent people. And now some relatives of those innocents seek revenge.

Mara has captured King Cypher and cut off his source of magic. Now, she and a small band of others want to torture the unrepentant King. But should they let their desire for revenge draw them down to the same immoral indifference to life?

The story had enough intrigue to pull the reader through to its end, though the moralizing was a little overcooked.