cover image The Executioness

The Executioness

Tobias S. Buckell, Subterranean (, $20 (104p) ISBN 978-1-59606-354-9

Contributing to a two-author, two-novella project (with Paolo Bacigalupi) set in the fantasy city of Khaim, Buckell (Tides from the New Worlds) chronicles the transformation of a middle-aged mother into a legendary warrior. Tana's meager existence taking care of her two sons and drunken husband is made even more difficult when her father, an executioner, becomes gravely ill. Forced to take her father's place or see her family starve, Tana dons the hood, grabs the axe, and walks into the city to behead another illegal magic user, only to return home to find her husband dead and her boys missing. Tana sets off on a quest to find and free her sons and wreak vengeance upon those who wronged her. The final sequences are a bit rushed, but fantasy fans will love the story's lush narrative and Buckell's endearing and unconventional heroine. (Jan.)