TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Reviews of All Things Pulp by Tommy Hancock
PRIDE OF THE TRAVELER
by Bryce Beattie
Originally Published in Astonishing Adventures Magazine #2
Now Available at http://www.smashwords.com/ and http://www.storyhack.com/ (Author's site)
Set in Beattie's own land of fantasy and swords, Caldera, this tale focuses on a sword for hire by the name of Key who essentially goes town to town challenging swordsmen for money. Also on his travels, Key has made a habit of stopping into visit fortune tellers and gypsies and that is where this story starts. Visiting a gypsy named Drabardi Fawe, Key asks for his fortune to be told. What the gypsy shares with him figures prominently into his working the crowd in this latest town, a town peopled with guards who are not only practiced swordsmen, but have a few dark practices as well.
This short story did exactly what a short piece should do. It lured me in, hooked me with the dialogue, the characters, and the fight scenes, and left me wanting to see more of Key and other characters. Beattie definitely set this up for other adventures and I for one hope to see more. Theres a real Errol Flynn feel to Key that is quite obvious and enjoyable throughout the story.
Although the dialogue could be a bit more consistent, shifting from 'formal' to modern vernacular here and there, PRIDE OF THE TRAVELER is most definitely a fantastic introduction into Bryce Beatties work and into the world of Caldera itself.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT-Would love to unlock more stories with Key and crew for sure and certain!