Short Fiction Friday: The Messenger

The Messenger by Mark Charan Newton, Drakenfeld #?

As an Officer of the Sun Chamber, Lucan Drakenfeld must uphold the two-hundred-year-old laws of the Vispasian Royal Union, whatever the cost. While stationed in the ancient city of Venyn, a metropolis notorious for its lawless nature, Drakenfeld receives a series of mysterious letters, written in blood, that warn of an imminent assassination attempt on the life of the city's young Prince Bassim. Supported by his fiery colleague Leana, Drakenfeld's investigation leads him down the city's corridors of power. But nothing is as it seems. Who is behind the conspiracy that threatens the young prince, and will the duo be able to unearth the perpetrator before the prince's time is up?

Last year I read my first book of Mark Charan Newton, Drakenfeld, which was also the kick off of his latest series, "Lucan Drakenfeld". Prior to reading Drakenfeld, I read some detective type of books but never in the setting that Mark Charan Newton showed. A quasi like Roman influenced world with a Sherlock kind of investigator named Lucan Drakenfeld. It was a very good read and one of my favourites of 2013. In precisely 6 days, the second book of the Lucan Drakenfeld series will be released and happy me I already have a copy waiting to be read, and what better way to get fired up for Retirubution, than be reading his short story The Messenger!
  
The story of The Messenger is set before the events of the first book Drakenfeld and focuses on revealing something of the history of Lucan Drakenfeld himself and the world in which the story takes place. In The Messenger our main protagonist Lucan Drakenfeld receives a mysterious letter than starts a new adventure for him. One thing about these letters is that they arent written in pencil but written in blood, who would do that? What even strikes Lucan as more dire is that they tell of an assassination attempt on the life of the young Prince Bassim. From beginning with the first letter, Lucan has his questions as well as his companion Leana. Why warn Lucan of a plot to kill Bassim? Is the letter from the acutual assassin or has someone received word and want to prevent it from happening. And why is it written in blood!? But as Lucan and Leana's have enough work, they decide to go about it as normal and ask the Sun Chamber for advice. And just as they do their normal work, Lucan starts to receive more and more letter showing links to Bassim's assassination plot and provoking Lucan to take action. The Sun Chamber does acknowledge the seriousness of the threat on Prince Bassim's life and even sends additional officers to assist Lucan and prevent the assassination from happening. So now you can say, the race is on, there are only a few days left to stop it, but where should Lucan start his investigation? 

I was mightly impressed with the story that Mark Charan Newton wrote in The Messenger, though it wasn't as detailed as in Drakenfeld its only 30ish pages, but this story is precisely what is needed make a great short story. It's engaging, detailed enough, and gives you a very satisfied feeling in the end. Building further on several characters of the story as well as expanding the world more. I do have to say that since the story focus on Lucan and Leana, that it is advisable to read Drakenfeld first as you will several elements much better than if you would just delve with this story as a first. However if you have already read Drakenfeld, Mark Charan Newton does give some very nice insights into the earlier years of Lucan himself and a bit more of the dynamics of the world itself.

 One thing that really hit me in the face and which I hadn't seen coming at all was the plot twist in the end of the book, you get to see the bigger picture and intricate plot that Mark Charan Newton wove in The Messenger. Really cool stuff. I hope this is to be an hallmark of what will be in store for Retribution. The whole setting of the world of Lucan Drakenfeld inspire a very grande and exotic feeling and the character only further bolster the feeling of a great story and series to be. Definitely recommended! period. 

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