Pretty Polly
Pretty Polly by Barbara Hambly

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Darwath Short Story

Publisher: Self Published (July 14, 2015)

Author Information: Website

Length: 38 pages

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Barbara Hambly labels this and other Keep of Dare novelette’s as the “Further Adventures” of Gil Patterson, Rudy Solis, and Ingold Inglorion, because life didn’t end for these guys when the Darwath trilogy ended. And being a fan of Darwath (and many other of Ms. Hambly’s fantasy series), I want to thank her for gifting these short stories/novelettes to her fans. They are indeed priceless additions to these tales with Pretty Polly being no exception.

The Keep of Dare has established a normal routine five years after the Rising of the Dark, and while Gil Patterson and Ingold Inglorion continue in their roles as keep guard and keep wizard, they now are also parents to a small baby. But while motherhood is stressful, what Gil has recently been dealing with is vivid dreams of her life and loved ones left behind when she abandoned her former life as a southern Californian graduate student to follow Ingold back to Darwath. Images that make her wonder if they are as true as her old dreams of Ingold Inglorion were before his subsequent arrival upon earth years before.

What is especially unsettling is how Gil’s ominous dreams are occurring at the same time as the disappearance of people around the keep — specifically people in the upper and outer levels where strange noises and reports of spirits have been rampant ever since the remnants of humanity took shelter in the ancient, obsidian cube that is Dare’ Keep.

When Ingold decides to accompany witnesses into the dark recesses of the keep to investigate the disappearances, things go from bad to worse as he himself disappears!

As Gil desperately tries to find the father of her child and the greatest wizard remaining in the world, she quickly discovers that magic and ancient technology will not be of much use to her. Instead, she will have to rely on her quick wits and old-fashioned ingenuity to unravel this newest mystery of Dare’s Keep.

All in all, this was yet another excellent story of this group of survivors. Ms. Hambly mixing in enough mystery (both magical and normal), further characterization, and tidbits of world building to make this a must-read for Darwath fans. And for those unfamiliar with the series, there is no real need to understand the previous books to understand what is going on here and enjoy it all. Highly recommended!

Purchase the novelette at Amazon.

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