Short Fiction Friday: The Mongolian Wizard

The Mongolian Wizard by Michael Swanwick, The Mongolian Wizard #1 

With "The Mongolian Wizard," Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Swanwick launches a new fiction series at -- beginning with this story of a very unusual international conference in a fractured Europe that never was.

Last week I came across the most recent Mongolian Wizard story of Michael Swanwick, THe Night of the Salamander, over at I like the story a lot but it left like I was missing something. And no wonder, The Night of the Salamander is already the fifth book in The Mongolian Wizard series. Browing a bit more on I found the story that start it all. Also called The Mongolian Wizard.

The Mongolian Wizard starts with a very nice first sentence that readily got me in the mood for the story."The wild griffins for which the region was famous were sporting in the sky above the snow-clad peaks of the Riphean Mountains when Sir Toby arrived at Schloss Greiffenhorst, late as usual." Griffens check! Not long after this you get to meet the protagonist of the story Franz Karl-Ritter who is accompanied by a wolf called Geri, with whom he shared more than a normal band. They are mentally linked to each other. Franz Karl-Ritter is part of the Werewolf Corps and in charge of the security for the international conference that is being held, a conference where every nation can showcase some of their superiority. By chance or was it, Sir Toby of Britian and Ritter meet. A while later, Sir Toby is allowed to give his demonstration and onward march a platoon of two inch tall soldiers with muskets. This surprise a lot of the attendees and even Ritter more so. Afterwards, Sir Toby does something again with his tiny soldier that does raise a lot of questions for Ritter, with some trouble brewing in Russia by the Mongolian Wizard, it could well be that there is spy on the loose that has the plans to disrupt the conference. So naturally Ritter, who is in charge of secruity, investigates Sir Toby in more detail accompanied by his wolf Geri. And well another chance encounter between Ritter and Toby is inevitable, and this is where the story really takes of as Ritter soon learns that he is soon to be part of something big!

With The Mongolian Wizard Michael Swanwick has written a very interesting story and kicked of a new series very nicely. From the moment of the hearty talk that Ritter and Toby shared the story really took of and gave a lot of promise for the four follow up stories that I still have to read. 

From the start of the story Michael Swanwick got my in the right mood, not only by the idea of the story but also by the short world building he did, it felt just like the surroundings, cold and a bit grim. It's hard to describe but in this short story there is a lot coming right at you. The magic system remains a bit obscure you see events and commands happen, but yhe mechanics are to be learned, I hope that this will be explored later one. 

I have high hopes for the sequel and remainder of this series. 

Read the full story here


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