Short Fiction Friday: The Fire Gown

The Fire Gown by Michael Swanwick, Mongolian Wizard #2 

A second “Mongolian Wizard” tale from Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Swanwick – continuing an epic of magic and deception in an alternate Europe of railroads and sorcery..

Just last week I read the first story in the Mongolian Wizard series of Michael Swanwick, and I enjoyed it. I have been recently reading a new thing Bookburners which is a serialized fiction, like a tv show but in short story format and actually I got the same feeling from this series of Michael Swanwick. Even more so with finishing this second story. Each story is like a little episode. 

Picking up directly from The Mongolian Wizard, Ritter and his wolf Freki have travelled to Great Britain. In the first story Franz-Karl Ritter was recruited by Sir Tobias Gracchus Willoughby-Quirke to the British Intelligence services. Having narrowly escaped death there, he now sets foot on the stable grounds of Great Britain. Well at least that is what he was thinking. No sooner than when he reaches Buckingham Palace does word come that Queen Titania has passed away. A spontaneous combustion has occurred while she was putting on a new dress. Toby and Ritter set out to investigate this incident and soon find out that there has been some foul play in work. In the remnants of the accident they discover a piece of cloth called woven from a salamanders hair and not just any salamander, a fire sprite known for the flammable properties. It can catch flame due to bodyheat alone. Everything in the ends points towards the dress maker but here Ritter finds out that there is much more going on. The questions remains is who can you trust? How far has the Mongolian Wizard's influence reached in Europe already? 

The Fire Gown is over in a flash. The story it self shows a nice broadening by taking place on British soil, added to this we do see more of Ritter's character and something on the emotional side of him, but for the rest it does remain a bit in the background. What we do get to is the influence that the Mongolian Wizard seems to have across Europe, and that things can go from bad to worse in an instant. 

Though The Fire Gown was more show and didn't give many clear answers it seems that in the next story there is the promise of a lot of things to come. Lets see!


you can read the full story here


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