Fantasy author Laura Anne Gilman popped up on RT's radar with her 2004 novel, Staying Dead. Earlier this year the talented author released Pack of Lies, a thrilling urban fantasy that received an RT Top Pick! Now Gillman's fans can enjoy her short story "Crossroads", which is available as a free e-read on fantasy-magazine.com.
"Crossroads" follows a traveler named John who comes across an execution in the middle of a crossroads, a place with unusual laws. Knowing that the man about to be hanged is a magician, John can't help but intervene.
In the world of "Crossroads" magicians have an immense power, and when one is killed that power gets absorbed by the nearest man "quick enough to catch it." John knows he can't let the magician's special power be transfered to the executioner, a man who may abuse it. So John decides to work some magic of his own, careful not to draw attention to his scheme.
The novella was intriguing but left this reader wondering about a few details. I want to know more about John's background, the "Oath" he must abide by and what makes the magicians' powers so special, yet dangerous. However, even with these unresolved elements, I enjoyed the novella. I felt that the real strength of this story lies in the anticipation that builds as the hero carefully plans his moves. For me, "Crossroads" worked well but would thrive as a slightly more extended piece.
To come to your own conclusions about "Crossroads" you can check out the full story here.