Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies – Issue #19

“The Mansion of Bones” by Richard Parks – Lord Yamada and the fleshly priest Kenji explore the ruins of the Fujiwara compound. In addition to being guarded by murderous ghosts, a demon lurks within the area, keeping close watch on the treasure Yamada seeks for his client.

I’ve read other stories by Parks that feature Yamada and Kenji, and this one fits right in with the others. Parks has a way of building tension by leaving the reader in the dark with each mystery presented, and then he carefully reveals their secrets, leaving you with an admiration of Yamada’s cleverness. If Sherlock Holmes lived in historic Japan replete with demons, ghosts and the unexplained, his name would be Lord Yamada. Great fun!

“Havoc” by A. C. Smart and Quinn Braver – Marcoen the bard travels to find the best stories that he can translate into song, experiencing things first-hand as much as possible. His latest adventure is to accompany a legendary Roen scout named Havoc. Havoc is a young man with about a dozen followers who pesters the Cumberan enemies through assorted pranks and tricks.

This tale has well-written prose (by that I mean that it has a poetic quality about it), but I had difficulty in keeping track of the characters and plot. It took me a long time to get a sense of who Havoc was allied with and what he was doing. I never felt secure with where I was at in the story, and the uneasiness kept me detached from the characters.

No comments: