cover image Sword of the Bright Lady

Sword of the Bright Lady

M.C. Planck. Pyr, $18 trade paper (403p) ISBN 978-1-61614-988-8

Mechanical engineer Christopher Sinclair goes for a walk one night in Arizona and suddenly finds himself in a snowy medieval world where rank depends on one’s “tael”—magical energy taken from the brains of dead sentient creatures, usually peasants. Threatened with execution, he vows to serve as a priest of the Bright Lady in an eternal war. However, when war god Marcius offers Sinclair a way to return home, Sinclair is willing to abandon the church to embark on the precarious adventure that lie ahead. To combat his enemies and help improve the forlorn lives of the common folk, he provides instruction on making steel, Franklin stoves, gunpowder, rifles, and cannons; naturally this both makes him very popular and earns him some enemies. Planck (The Kassa Gambit) develops a number of interesting peripheral characters who support Sinclair even as they doubt his ability to change the “corrupt system.” Readers looking for a new twist on an old story will be interested in this tale of modern idealism set in a gritty medieval world. (Sept.)