Tangent Online

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #37, August 2018

E-mail Print

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #37, August 2018

The Paladin of Golota” by Djeli Clark

The Forest of Bones” by Christopher Chupik
The Blitz of Din Barham” by Cameron Johnston

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are three fantasy stories in the 37th issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. One of these is a novelette, the others are short stories.

The Paladin of Golota” by Djeli Clark

This captivating fantasy novelette introduces a street urchin named Teffe who survives by pilfering anything of value from warriors killed in battle. He is sitting beside such a warrior on the plains outside his city, waiting for the injured to die from their wounds.

But the female warrior, Zahrea, lingers on and begins to engage him in a conversation about the gods and why she fought that day. Despite his street smarts, Teffe is drawn into her story and eventually into her plans. She will try to complete a feat that will ensure her ascendancy to her God’s Third Heaven and Teffe will be her armor-bearer.

Clark has spun a story that was hard to put down. The reader was quickly engaged in a plot with pace and mystery making the reader want to find out what happened to the protagonists.

The Forest of Bones” by Christopher Chupik

Chupik’s short fantasy is set in post-Roman Briton, in the time of the legends of King Arthur. Lucan, one of the King’s companions, is seeking the giant Cawr who is terrorizing the local villages.

Lucan becomes suspicious of a local wizard who offers to help. When the wizard’s young slave girl tries to warn Lucan, he must find a way to thwart the wizard’s plan to offer him as a sacrifice to the giant.

This was a slow fantasy with little mystery and a predictable end.

The Blitz of Din Barham” by Cameron Johnston

The city of Din Barham is being attacked nightly by a dragon and her offspring in this short fantasy. Kyna, the granddaughter-apprentice to the City’s Grand Mage, realizes that all the magicians remain too trapped in their own petty squabbles to find a solution.

Kyna and her close friend, Aislin, find themselves outside the Mage’s manse when a juvenile dragon comes before nightfall. Fighting for survival, Kyna and Aislin discover a way to rid the City of its dragon curse. But can they convince the skeptical elders of a new approach?

This was an interesting tale that read easily and had a good pace in the second half.