Servant of the Crown by Brian McClellan
Brian McClellan does something a little different with his Powder Mage universe. Instead of relying solely on his publishing deal for full-length works, he also produces short fiction that adds meaning to the novels. As of this post, he’s released five such stories, the latest being Servant of the Crown, a story in which we finally discover how he met his fated other half, Erika.
Captain Tamas is a member of the Adran military, a commoner who worked his way through the ranks to get as far as he has, with ambitions to go higher. McClellan wastes no time in painting us a very vivid picture of Tamas’ hatred for the nobility. The clashing ideals and personalities between Tamas and the entitled nobles forms the crux of the novella.
Soon the King himself becomes involved along with one of the privileged sorceresses of the royal cabal, which leaves Tamas to be nothing more than a pawn on a chessboard he barely understands.
The only help Tamas receives is from a young Kez noblewoman, a girl named Erika who is a powder mage herself, albeit one who has been forced to hide her powers from a country that despises her kind. Last seen in the short story Forsworn, Erika has become enamored with the idea of Tamas’ rise to power in the military and his advocacy for powder mages.
McClellan’s writing is as tight as ever and still manages to contain the intensity of a summer blockbuster into writing. While the explosions and impossible shots are still a treat to read the true delight came in the banter between Tamas and Erika. Their chemistry is strong and their dialogue is some of the most genuine representations of early couples I’ve had the pleasure to read.
There are numerous ways to experience Servant of the Crown, but I’d recommend the direct method and getting it from the source? Check out Brian’s books and collection of short stories here.
Captain Tamas is an ambitious young officer in the Adran army. As a commoner, he is one of very few without noble blood to hold a rank. When he challenges the son of a duke over an insult, the subsequent duel lands him in hot water with the nobility and the royal cabal of Privileged sorcerers. Tamas is soon drawn into a conflict that goes to the very highest office in the land, and his only ally is the most unlikely of people; a young noblewoman named Erika, who needs Tamas to teach her how to wield her powers as a powder mage.
Occurs about thirty-five years before the events in Promise of Blood.