cover image Brayan's Gold

Brayan's Gold

Peter V. Brett, Subterranean (, $20 (88p) ISBN 978-1-59606-363-1

Brett spins another side story (after The Great Bazaar and Other Stories) off the deliberately harsh fantasy world first developed in 2009's The Warded Man. This novella is a slight but enjoyable tale with a light, almost YA feel. Newcomers will get an easy introduction as Arlen, still an apprentice Messenger, takes on his first solo excursion into the demon-haunted night. When Sandar breaks his leg, Curk, Arlan's mentor, is assigned to take his place hauling explosives to a far-off mining town. Brigands attack and Curk flees, but the ever-brave Arlan stands his ground, making himself new enemies and allies in what will become his long fight against the demons. The lack of female characters—other than one who needs Arlen's help to dodge her father's wrath over her unexpected pregnancy—will give some readers pause, but many will find Arlen's courage inspiring. (Jan.)