I think it’s a fairly well known fact that I’m a sci-fi reader that dabbles in fantasy from time to time. Back in 2009 I read a debut fantasy from Peter V Brett called The Painted Man (The Warded Man in the US), and instantly became a fan. There was just something about it that ticked the right boxes for me – the setting, the history, the magic, the demons, the characters – all of these worked extremely well together. While waiting for the sequel, The Desert Spear, to be released Subterranean Press announced that they were going to be releasing a limited edition novella called The Great Bazaar. This was very welcome news, and when the limited edition I bought arrived I couldn’t help but drool over it. The quality was awesome, the art excellent, and the story and extras it contained well worth the money.
And then I read The Desert Spear and settled in for the long wait for the third book in the series, The Daylight War. Just when I thought all hope was lost Subterranean Press announced that they would once again be releasing another limited edition novella from Brett, this one called Brayan’s Gold. It was time to rejoice! I got my order in straight away and it finally arrived at the end of January. It looked so good I was hesitant to open the book and ruin it, but I bought it to read and that’s exactly what I did…
Brayan’s Gold is the story of Arlen during his apprentice messenger days and his his first overnight journey with a trained messenger. The cargo is an expensive load of explosives for Count Brayan and his mines, and despite the regular messenger having been unable to take this run, a new one steps in and off they go. But when they are stopped by bandits and his mentor flees Arlen is left to stand his ground, not allowing the cargo to be stolen. And then he is alone, determined to travel the long road to the gold mine and deliver the cargo in one piece.
This is a short story, and providing you understand that then there is nothing that you should be disappointed with. As with The Great Bazaar, it’s really nice to see Arlen’s messenger days before he became the infamous Painted Man, and this time we see another part of the world that hasn’t been explored in the main novels. The setting is great, the snowy mountains and cold nights really add a nice atmosphere to the story and the characters that we meet are as interesting as they can be given the limited length of the story.
As a fan of Peter V Brett’s Demon Cycle this one hit the right notes, was a quick and thoroughly enjoyable read, and works perfectly to serve the purpose of filling in some of Arlen’s back story. While it could be read as a stand alone, it’s really one for those that have already read and enjoyed Arlen’s world. I hope this isn’t the last short excursion to some of Arlen’s history as they’re such fun and work so well within the larger body of work. Awesome.