Where I got it: Advance copy (Author thanks go here!)
Published on: September 24th 2013
Hope’s End is a short story set in the world of Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy, and is told from the POV of a captain in Field Marshal Tamas’s army, on a campaign that, as the title might indicate, seems doomed to failure. Though anyone who’s read the first book in the series, A Promise Of Blood, may well know that Tamas and failure don’t go quite so well together…
The title is also a nod to the personal circumstances of Captain Verundish, the story’s POV character, who at the beginning has a pretty bleak outlook – it opens with her on the verge of suicide. After an interrupted attempt, and to prevent her lover having to do so, she decides instead to volunteer to lead the eponymous ‘Hope’s End’ assault upon the enemy stronghold they’ve been charged with capturing. By all accounts, this in itself is a suicide mission…
The story, despite the grim plot involved, is better for the insight it gives into the relationship between Tamas and his men. Personally speaking, he’s perhaps not the most lovable of men, but with the soldiers under his command it’s clearly a different story. Verundish is one such soldier, and her story shows us the personal side to her loyalty to him.
The story itself is dramatic enough, though to me it felt a little too brief. Whether this is just an aspect of short stories in general that irks me, I’m not sure, but I felt it here.
I could appreciate Verundish’s story, but there are other characters in the world McClellan’s created that hold a lot more of my interest, and it’s those ones I’d like to see more of. In fairness, this story paints another snippet of a picture of Tamas – a character I definitely enjoy seeing more of – that I liked seeing. It also adds another piece to the puzzle of Tamas’s coup from the first novel, and adds a little more richness to it that I welcome.
All in all, it’s worth reading if you’re a fan of the first book, and if you’re new to it then it’s a good place to start getting into that world, and to meet Tamas for the first time. I’d definitely like to see more short stories in this vein!
You can get Hope’s End in epub format on Brian McClellan’s website, as well as from Amazon.