Author: Nancy M. Griffis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 32 Pages
At a Glance: If the short prequel is any indication of the rest of the series, it’s going to be great.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Gerald Smithson, master leathersmith, has ample reason to distrust mages. He doesn’t take their commissions and steers clear of them wherever possible. When Lord Leo Harris tries to hire him, Gerald sends the mage packing. Unfortunately, the simple act of Leo entering his shop brings Gerald to the attention of a Dark mage who kidnaps him as a chance to get to Leo. Now Leo must not only rescue Gerald, but find a way to win his heart. It will be an unusual courtship, to say the least.
Review: Set in an alternate-history, magic filled Victorian England, this prequel introduces Leo and Gerald, a mage and a leathersmith. Gerald creates works of art with leather, and he distrusts mages. So much so that whenever one comes to his workroom to commission a piece, he turns him down. That is, until he meets Leo. Of course, he says no the first time, but after he’s taken by dark mages and Leo saves him, he agrees to help him.
The world Griffis has created is well depicted even for a short thirty-two page short story. Readers discover not only is magic possible in this world, but same-sex relationships are as well, without any of the usual worry, and the author even briefly suggests that it’s something to do with the Greeks. Fascinating!
While Leo and Gerald are both fun characters to read, I really love Gerald’s grandfather. He’s funny and completely accepting of his grandson. It’s revealed that Gerald has two marriage offers from well-off men, and when Leo takes an interest in Gerald, his grandfather encourages that as well. He’s such a fun character, slightly cranky, but mostly cheerful.
Would I read the rest of this series? Absolutely. It’s hard to craft an entire world in such a short story, and Griffis pulls it off admirably.
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