Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunset Mantle, by Alter S. Reiss (author), Christopher Price (narrator)

Macmillan Audio, September 2015

Cete is a soldier who committed an act that resulted in him simultaneously receiving a belt of merit, a very high honor, and exile from what had been his home and country. He is traveling the world looking for a new place to be a soldier when he arrives in the remote Reach Antach, where at last he has a chance of employment.

The downside is that the Reach Antach is doomed, for reasons of politics and economics, and one soldier more or less, no matter how good, won't make much difference. Yet Cete has found a reason to stay. He's met a blind weaver-woman who creates beautiful works of art--including a Sunset Mantle that Cete very much wants. What he also wants is the woman herself--if he can have her without making her precarious circumstances worse. The sane thing for her to do is leave the city and go somewhere safe.

Reiss does a nice job of world-building and character development in a little space here, revealing Cete's circumstances, the woman's, and the Reach Antach's, as well as the motivations of enemies and allies at just the right pace to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. I'd be very interested in readingmore set in this world, and this is far from my favorite subgenre of fantasy.

Recommended.

This story was originally published on Tor.com, and is included in the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, which I bought from Audible.