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 Post subject: The Spriggan Mirror & other Ethshar stories
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:24 am 
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A while back, I posted a thread about Lawrence Watt-Evans and the first books I read of his called The Obsidian Chronicles. It was a dark story with much violence & cruelty and a... well, I won't even tell you the kind of ending, I don't want to ruin it.

Anyway! This isn't about that. This is about single stories told in Watt-Evans' other universe: Ethshar. In general, the Ethshar stories are a bit more light-hearted. I've read two others besides the one in the thread's title. The Misenchanted Sword, which is a tad dark: it's about a scout, named Valder, lost behind enemy lines. Valder meets up with an old hermit wizard & accidently causes much misfortune to the old guy. Before Valder continues on, trying to find his way back to his allies, the old man puts every helpful spell he can think of on Valder's sword. Only... they're not all helpful & the old man knew what he was doing...

Then, there was Night of Madness. It took me a little longer to warm up to the MC in this one (I forget his name) but I did. Anyway, one day everyone wakes up and there has been some kind of... oddness. There are people who suddenly have this new kind of magic. They end up calling it 'warlocked'. Some of them can fly. It's a very oddly non-consequential magic, too, where you can almost think something & do it, to a point. Except that the more you use it, the more powerful you become. Until the warlock becomes so powerful they are drawn away from town and... towards something. The most powerful of these 'warlocks' are drawn there from the start. It's about them finding out what's going on, etc.

Finally, if you've read this far... there's the book I'm reading now & what is probably the most light-hearted of Watt-Evans' stories I've encountered thus far, The Spriggan Mirror:

Gresh is a Supplier. In Watt-Evans' Ethshar universe, there are many different schools of magic and each one works differently. For instance, wizards are very powerful and have to carefully prepare their spells not just with concentation & skill but they also have to use various common or uncommon components (from simple stones to dragon's blood to the stillborn fetus of a goat, etc). Or there are witches, who I believe, develop their own psychic abilities & can do things like hover or read minds. Witches aren't as powerful, they're much more subtle & almost... homey. Then there are theurgists, who talk to the gods and demonologists who talk to, well, demons. There are also sorcerers, ritual dancers, and... I know I'm forgetting some others. Anyway! Gresh is none of these. He's a merchant with a formidable reputation who deals in magician supplies and if he doesn't have it, he can get it. Garaunteed.

Now, spriggans have only started showing up in the last couple of years. They are a nuisance. They're not mean or evil... they're just rather stupid and clumsy and, most annoyingly, drawn to magic. Especially wizard's magic. About shin high on a human, spriggans are ugly little green or grayish looking things, they break things and trip people, stuff like that. Just annoying things.

The wizards know that the spriggans spring forth from this magic mirror. They have tried everything they can think of to find this mirror so they can destroy it and stop the flow of spriggans popping out of it at an alarming rate. After exhausting all other avenues, the wizards come to Gresh & hire him to find it.

What follows is a fun story (that I'm about halfway finished with, lol). This one in particular of his, is simple and a fast read, almost as if he wrote it for young people.

Now, on another note, something I've noticed about Watt-Evans & both of his worlds, is that in none of his books is there a map. And, map-fiend that I am, it doesn't bother me in his case. Just something I thought I'd mention.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:27 pm 
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You describe stories rather well, Kally - have you ever thought of doing book reviews for newspapers?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:31 pm 
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Nope! It's fun writing them though, when I like the book. That's the downside, however: I don't think I could ever write a negative kind of review or be forced to read something & write about it (like when I was in college, heh). That was very fast & on the fly... did I describe it well? I wouldn't mind submitting stuff to newspapers if I could just read books I liked :D

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:55 pm 
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Started on another Watt-Evans story yesterday, The Unwilling Warlord.

Sterran is a 19-year-old gambler/street rat kid, orphaned & living on his wits...and trying not to get himself killed by people who think he's cheating them at dice (he's almost unnaturally lucky...I think I know the reason). So, wouldn't you know it...one day a small party of foreigners pops up in the tavern he's been gaming in...

Now, south of Ethshar is a collection of what they call "The Small Kingdoms" and they are. It's a bunch of little bitty barbaric "countries" constantly at war with each other. Sterran, apparently, is the hereditary warlord to one such country, called Semma. Oh, but it's all right, Semma has been at peace for forty years now! Bet you know what that means... yeah, they're overdue for some bloodshed. In fact, their two, much larger, neighboring countries are gearing up for invasion.

So Sterran is trundled off, practically a prisoner, to a land where he doesn't even speak the language, and is told he is now in charge of said land's defense. His "officers" command less than 100 troops and NO magic is used (they call HIM the barbarian for even suggesting it). Ethshar is a very magic-heavy land...

I'm not too far in but suffice it to say, Watt-Evans is as crisp and entertaining as always. The short pitch line on the front of this book is cute, too, it says "Sterran knew nothing about leading an army. He was just going to have to cheat." :)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:19 pm 
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Odd. I thought I had all Watt-Evans' books, but I had never heard of The Spriggan Mirror.

Time to start checking used bookstores again.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:15 am 
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Sounds like a fun story, Kally. I'm not attracted to his style of writing, but maybe I will try and get The Spriggan Mirror. So far I've enjoyed most of the recommendations you guys have made.

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Last edited by Raya on Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:09 am 
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All of Watt-Evans is worthwhile :) And he's still doing new stuff, Xerius, I can't keep up with it all, lol.

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