Short Fiction Friday: The Last Abbot of Ashk’lan

The Last Abbot of Ashk’lan by Brian Staveley, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

The funny thing about big novels is that you can’t follow all the characters. The protagonists get full screen time, of course, but there are dozens of minor characters populating a novel, characters with lives, fears, hopes, and stories of their own who just… disappear the moment they leave the ambit of the lucky few. This seems a shame. Fortunately, it’s a problem with a solution, and this story is an attempt at that solution—if only in a small way for one single character.

I loved writing Akiil, Kaden’s thieving friend at the monastery, and I needed to know what happened to him during the slaughter at the end of The Emperor’s Blades; after all, last time we see him, he’s going about his business, and then the soldiers arrive, killing everyone in sight. Did he make it? Did he die heroically? Did he sell out his monastic brothers?

The Emperor's Blades, which was released early January back in 2013 was an amazing debut. I described this book as being the next big thing, it has a lot of common ground with Epic Fantasy but in many different ways, Brian Staveley had set him self apart, in the sequel, The Providence of Fire, he once again proved his worth and just lately I saw the cover of the third book. Which will blow you away by the by, but being confronted with The Last Mortal Bond  (book three), also revealed this short story set in the Chronicle of the Unhewn throne. So basically a double score. 

 The "synopsis" above should already tell you enough, but just to clarify, The Last Abbot of Ashk'lan doesn't feature the three children Valyn, Kaden and Adare but a minor character that you met up with in The Emperor's Blade: Akiil. Akiil's adventures actually play directly into the story of The Emperor's Blade, but this was something that Brian Staveley was unable to tell. Such a story reminded me very closely to what James A. Moore did with his Seven Forges series, where he also wrote about secondary characters. 

Ok so as I mentioned the story of The Last Abbot of Ashk'lan focuses on Akiil, who is one of Kaden's closest friends and also a trainee of the Shin monks. The story starts of with the invasion of the soldiers who want to get their hand of Kaden, during the original story told in The Emperor's Blades, Akiil disappears, but no longer! As the events told in this story are what happened after. When you first met up with Akiil, you learned something of the background of him, that he was a rogueish person. In these few pages, Brian Staveley both tells a terrific story of how Akiil navigates through the invasion and tells more about Akiil's troubled history. There is a definite richness to the story, Brian Staveley tells it with his own confidence and some people might not like it because now they can no longer think about the what if's but the ending to what Akiil does is pretty confronting and can you really blame him?   

Perhaps it wasn't a smart move of me to delve into The Last Abbot of Ashk'lan as now I am more than eager to see what will happen in The Last Mortal Bond. Which is sadly due March 2016.

In the meantime if you also want to read this amazing story visit this link 


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