A young half-elf is kidnapped by a creature from a nursery rhyme. Two bouncers have to fend off an attempted robbery on the inn they guard. A newly trained Battle Mage tracks a killer through the streets. A necromancer back from the dead looks to take revenge on the men who killed him. And Ashen Falls is the town where it all happens.
Tales from Ashen Falls is a quartet of short stories, designed to introduce some of the characters from the author’s novel The Eighth God. As such, there are a lot of hints about the world beyond the confines of the stories. Little things like the way the magic works; the more you use, the faster it ages you, indicate the author has more worked out than you currently see. Nothing to leave you confused about what you’re reading but enough to make you curious and want to read more.
Two of the stories focus on the young half-elf, Melress, who is a main character in The Eighth God (I’m basing this on the Amazon blurb since I haven’t read it yet). The other two stories feature the brothers Pock and Cock; former Battle Mages and now bouncers at The Dove’s Head Inn. The stories with Melress are played mostly straight. The first is an adventure story with a variety of point of view characters. The second is more of a thriller, with an older Melress following the trail of a killer’s victims in an attempt to put a stop to the deaths. The stories with Pock and Cock are somewhat lighter, despite the violence that takes place in them. The two brothers are profane, sarcastic and often very funny (by my sense of humour, anyway).
If I had one complaint about this collection, it’s that it’s too short. I finished reading it an hour or so and was left wanting more. On the plus side, I have already bought a copy of The Eighth God so it’s only a matter of time before I get to learn more about this world.
I would recommend this for fantasy readers looking for a short, enjoyable read.