Advent Reviews Day 8: The Riddle of Scorpions by Josh Reynolds

I love Warhammer Fantasy more than any other shared fantasy world(s) I’ve read to date. It’s a wonderfully complex world with the typical high fantasy archetypes that I’ve come to love over the years, combined with a really dark and brutal stance to it that is unique in its own way. And Josh Reynolds is an author that I’m coming to think very highly of since he is one of those authors who can grab your attention right off the bat and hold it through to the end. He has only recently started writing in the Warhammer Fantasy setting and everything that I’ve read of his works so far, I’ve been quite impressed with, this flash fiction for Black Library’s Advent Calendar 2012 being no exception.

advent-riddleThe Riddle of Scorpions sees Zavant Konniger and his assistant Vido investigating the death of a prominent merchantman of the great city of Altdorf, Jorge Mueller. The short story is very much in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s various Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries. The focus isn’t so much on why the death happened, but how it happened. And that process of finding out the “how” is what’s important, as Konniger remarks several times to Vido. The short story is an exercise in showing off how Konniger’s mind works, whilst also showing off his knowledge about various Old World cultures, both current and ancient.

The twist at the end is definitely the highpoint of the story. As I’ve said before, where these Advent flash shorts are concerned, it’s not easy to tell a 1,000-word (-ish) story that has a clear beginning, middle and end, but Josh Reynolds handles that perfectly here. The ending underscores Konniger’s lesson to Vido, and the story itself offers an almost charming perspective on the daily life of Konniger.

And as a snapshot, The Riddle of Scorpions is also a good jumping point for readers new to Zavant Konniger’s. He’s apparently a classic Warhammer Fantasy character and it appears that Josh Reynolds will be writing more of him in the future. Which, I think, is a good thing. The whole story is very typical of his tongue-in-cheek style and Konniger seems to fit into that style perfectly.

So yes, more Zavant Konniger please!

Rating: 10/10

You can find more Zavant Konniger in Hammer & Bolter #25 or in the print-on-demand title The Incomplete Zavant Konniger by Gordon Rennie

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Posted on December 8, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 2012 Writing Challenge, Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

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