Series: 7&7 Anthology
Publisher: DSP Publications (May 2016)
Bonus: Free on publisher’s site
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
DSP Publication’s anthology covers 7 virtues and 7 vices, and the theme of Carole Cummings’ short story is the virtue of justice.
The Orthodox government protects the nation from the dangerous magic of theurgists and their treacherous ilk. The Bureau’s buff and brave agents, with support from bright personnel like Kyle the computer and communication expert, are key to protecting the public from the nefarious Sorcerer. This short story moves swiftly through the central players’ struggle with their own safety, their personal feelings and attractions, and eventually the larger issues of keeping society safe. The author’s quick, strong, and tight story weave includes a wide range of personal, sexual, ethical and political challenges in a relatively small handful of pages. The teasing glimpses of the dangers that a handful of magical individuals would pose in a modern society are handled deftly and create a nice tension in this Urban Fantasy setting.
Many novel length works do not address such a range of character, plot and setting issues so effectively, let alone in a work as short as this. While some of the plot twists were predictable, there was also a surprise or two that worked well for me. Certainly the personal, ethical, and intimate themes the author explores resonated, hitting a sweet spot of what I personally find enjoyable in a short read. Still, I was also clearly impressed with how the plot and character and setting themes swirled together so nicely in a brief work.