#1 The Fiddler’s Soul, by Richard Rhys Jones
Having read “The House in Wales” by Richard, I was hoping to see something similar in The Fiddler’s Soul. I was not disappointed. If you liked the old song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” you’ll appreciate the concept here – A fiddler, pitting his abilities against the devil seems forever lost in a cave. Years later a plan is hatched by the family to save him.
Enter Jacob Carpenter, a newspaper reporter come to Castle Drakon to write about this story. Friedhelm von Pilke is the host, inviting him along with ‘mystics and mediums’ together for what everyone hopes is monumental event – bargaining again with the Devil to regain a lost soul.
Upon his arrival, he discovers he’s the only true guest, everyone else is acquainted in one way or another; members of some obscure aristocracy. With time allowed to become acquainted, Jacob soon finds himself the center of attention, with more than one woman wishing to keep him company and finding her way to his quarters.
Jones handles this short story very deftly. We think we have a pretty good idea of what is going on. There are hints that something sinister is afoot, but we’re not sure. When our suspicions are abruptly confirmed, everything has fallen apart for Jacob. But the author has a couple more plot twists up his sleeve. Sometimes those sorts of devices seem too convenient, but they make complete sense here and leave us with quite a sense of satisfaction. And without revealing any more, this seems like a good note on which to pause. Very well done, Mr. Jones!
#2, Zeara ga mouche by Jeffrey Blackmer
This is my story, so leaving a review is pointless. So, instead, I will post a synopsis.
Five explorers have entered a portal inside the Castle Drakon; a team leader, an exobiologist, an exobotanist and two marines. Their destination is a burning hot desert world where trees grow a mile high. At the top of each tree is a dense jungle canopy, a complete ecosystem, hot, humid and teaming with life. Their mission is to climb high into the canopy and harvest a strange fungus, a universal antiviral vaccine.
If the mission weren’t hazardous enough, there is a giant, black, saber-tooth panther living the tree. This apex predator killed almost everyone on every previous mission. But perhaps this time will be different. There is a bird that lives here they will come to rely on. It shrieks a loud warning cry: ‘Zeara ga mouche’, whenever the cat is near.
Determined that that all will survive, everyone in the crew has sidearms. The two marines are packing fully automatic belt-fed shotguns. This won’t be evenly matched at all. They should have brought more firepower.
The Secrets of the Castle Drakon is available on Amazon.com
Click on the icon to go there. Currently on $0.99
Next post will reviewing Brotherly Love? by Jillian Ward and A Solemn Curfew by Bev Allen.