Title: Lord Heliodor’s Retirement
Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Lord Adem Heliodor and his new librarian
Unlikely hero Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen’s life during the Screaming, a magical attack on his city, but his broken nerves have forced him into an unwanted early retirement to his country estate. Adem thinks his life is over, but retirement holds some surprises. First, there’s his new librarian, who turns out to be not just the first love he thought was dead, but also someone surprisingly knowledgeable about political intrigue. Then there’s the assassin in the orchard and the discovery that the Screaming was just the first attack on the city.
I must admit that I really enjoy Ms Durreson’s stories, and this one was no exception.
“Lord Heliodor’s Retirement” is a wonderful combination of emotion and intrigue. Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen’s life from an unknown spell that has gained the nickname ‘The Screaming’ a few months ago but since then has been experiencing PTSD symptoms (of course, being a fantasy they don’t call it that, but it’s obvious that’s what it is). Unable to do the job he loves after being forcibly retired to his country estate, and with no close family or friends, Lord Heliodor is at a loss until a long-dead lover returns and refuses to let Adem sink further into depression.
I really enjoyed the way that Ms Durreson managed to squeeze so much into a short story without making it seem crowded or too short. The attack labelled ‘The Screaming’ happens before the story begins but the horror of it is communicated well, and the intrigue is well-constructed.
Definitely a must-read for lovers of well-built fantasy worlds, intrigue, lovers reunited, regardless of whether they prefer short or long stories. I usually prefer longer stories but this one is on my re-read list. It’s likely I’ll re-read it several times while waiting for the sequel to Ms Durreson’s Reawakening.
Reviewed By: Alison
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