The Viscount and the Witch - Michael J. Sullivan Free download from the author’s website.
Charming. That is the best word to describe this short story. I enjoyed it. Tremendously.
A pair of inventive rogues, a former soldier and a thief, don’t try to save the world or retrieve a magical amulet (I’m tired of these plot lines). Instead, they’re conducting a business: providing smart solutions for people in trouble… for a fee.
Of course, there are holes in the story; short stories often have them. For example, the old witch’s tricks were transparent from the start, but they were not the point. The point was to introduce the two characters, Hadrian and Royce, who later become the protagonists of Riyria Chronicles.
The author succeeded admirably. The bickering between the two comrades-in-con was priceless. My only complaint: the story was too short. I wanted to know more about those guys. I wanted to learn how they hooked up. I wanted to discover what happened to them next.
Fortunately, the first chapter of Theft of Swords, included in the selection, provided a glimpse into their further escapades. Unfortunately, it just served to whet my appetite for more tales about this pair of adventurous rascals. I’ve already ordered the book from my library. Can’t wait to start reading.