Series: Darwath Short Story
Publisher: Self Published (April 20, 2017)
Author Information: Website
Length: 45 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Elsewhere is the latest Keep of Dare novelette from Barbara Hambly. These continued adventures of Gil Patterson and Rudy Solis from late 20th Century America and their companions in the medieval, post-apocalyptic world of Darwath (including wizard Ingold Inglorion) wonderful additions to to the Darwath series.
Here Rudy Solis finds himself frantically attempting to investigate the disappearance of a number of people in the “transporter room” of the keep. (This magical room a little understood remnant of the ancient civilization which built the keep with both magic and technology over a thousand years in the past.) Among the vanished Ingold and Gil. And if attempting to decipher the mysterious workings of the room to save his friends from an unknown fate is not enough, Rudy must also deal with a plague of deadly “ghosts” which have suddenly begun to appear in the keep, killing people with their icy weapons!
From the first sentence, Hambly’s characteristic writing style masterfully creates the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere of the Keep of Dare. The ever shrinking band of survivors huddled within desperately holding onto life in a world slowly deteriorating; the climate outside turning colder and colder. food becoming more and more scarce, and the remains of civilization teetering on the edge of collapse. The claustrophobic, cavern-like hallways within the mysterious citadel as much a tomb as a refuge; their innumerable secrets, which once promised life, still undecipherable by even the wisest. The otherworldly “ghosts” which begin to haunt the living more at home in the bleak “underworld” of Dare’s Keep than the living whom they torment.
Even more compelling than the creepy atmosphere is the continued development of the returning characters, especially our main four of Ingold, Gil, Rudy, and Minalde. These people having grown and developed so much over the years; their personalities and interactions with one another so very realistic, as time and harsh living slowly take their tole on them in so many ways. Yet, for all their differences, they are still the same people who came together to face the rising of the Dark, fearlessly facing death at one another’s side.
Overall, this was yet another great Darwath story. Ms. Hambly continuing her tried-and-true recipe of creepiness, mystery, characterization, and world building to turn Elsewhere into a story that long-time fans of Darwath, as well as newcomers, can read and enjoy. Highly recommended!