Tales of Kingshold by D. P. Woolliscroft

Series: The Wildfire Circle #1.5 Rating: 4.5/5
Date of Publishing: November 6th 2018 Genre: fantasy, short stories, anthology
Publisher: self published Available: Amazon
Number of pages: 324 Author’s website: http://dpwoolliscroft.com/

Quote of the Book

“It’s a shitty way to die, going purple with your tongue sticking out like a snail coming out of its shell, instead of a nice quick broken neck.”

Of Buccaneers and Bards

Blurb

I am Mareth and I collect tales - tales that do not make the official histories. Join me and learn the secret stories of those who sparked the wildfire. Stories from our past, from that fateful summer and its aftermath. 

If you loved Kingshold, discover the next installment in the epic Wildfire Cycle. 
Tales of Kingshold, Book 1.5 of the Wildfire Cycle, includes four novelettes and six short stories. 


NOVELETTES: 

Of Buccaneers and Bards (previously published separately) 
Vin Kolsen’s chickens have come home to roost. A bar fight turned serious has landed him in the gaol of a two-bit fishing village awaiting the magistrate and his noose. When a stranger becomes his cellmate it signals the beginning of a wild ride from galley slave to pirate captain. 
This is the untold story of how an optimistic pirate took the first step to becoming King of the North Sea Corsairs, with a bard named Mareth at his side. 

All That Shimmers 
Deep beneath the surface of the earth live unspeakable horrors, safely trapped away. 
But when an inquisitive dwarf releases a specter, who will stop it from wreaking havoc in Unedar Halt? 

Hollow Inside 
The Hollow Syndicate, the most feared guild of assassins on the Jeweled Continent. And the most exclusive school in all Kingshold 
When a dead syndicate member is deposited on the doorstep in a handcart, a position among the graduating class opens up. Finabria is still a year away from completing her studies. Will she really compete in the upcoming trials? 

Circles
Neenahwi promised her brother she would undergo the Quana, the coming-of-age ceremony for her tribe. 
Four days in the wilderness with a hunger she hasn't felt in years. 
The visions may provide some answers about her purpose in life, but she's not going to like what she hears. 

SHORT STORIES: 

Twin Lies 
Florian— soldier, mercenary and future friend of Motega— is a man with a past. 
As he and a new recruit watch the smoke rise above the liberated city of Redpool, Florian recounts how he joined the army and acquired some surprising nicknames. It’s a story about being there for your family when it counts, but not living up to your own high standards. 

Narrowing It Down
Two men, long ago friends and now enemies. 
Two sisters, desperate to bring change to Kingshold and to prove themselves to each other. 
Can the sisters solve the riddle of what happened to the old friends and resolve past grievances to get their plan back on track? 

The Working Dead 
Motega hates the undead. 
When one crypt-diving job ends, another comes along: banish the shadow of a necromancer from the town of Stableford. 
And though Motega hates the undead, the money is too good to turn down. 

From Father to Daughter 
The unredacted letter Jyuth gave to Neenahwi on the night before his departure 

Jyuth on Magic 
Jyuth, the greatest wizard that Edland has ever known. For the first time, excerpts from his hand-written journals shed light on the secrets of magic. 

From the Desk of Lord Marchial Eden 
The last thing seen of the former Lord Eden was the trail of dust as he fled Kingshold. 
Discover what befell him afterwards through his own correspondence. 

Personal notes

Kingshold was one of early requests of my blogging career back in the spring. I really liked how different it was from my usual fantasy reads, so when I was offered an ARC copy of Tales of Kingshold, I couldn’t say no. I made an interview with D.P. Woolliscroft when the book was launched, check out his thoughts and what’s to expect from him in the future!

Song of the Book

Choosing a song for an anthology is always tricky. You pick a song for the whole book? For one story? For one character? For some reason this book makes me think of old animation movies, like the Princess and the Goblin. No idea why. For a minute I was really tempted to put that song they sing (by the way, did you know a Hungarian man edited and wrote the music? It was a Hungarian-British-American co-production). But I restrained myself and decided to find something a touch more serious. Somehow I ended up going through the Black Stone Cherry songs, and decided to go with Remember Me. I think it symbolises the relationship between Jyuth and Neenahwi well. But it can also viewed as a song for Neenahwi and her parents. Either way, she is the character who shows up the most, I feel good about my choice.

Review

Tales of Kingshold is a collection of novelettes, short stories, letters and notes about events that happened before, after and during the election in Kingshold. We meet old and new characters, some of them likely to appear in later books. In my review I will focus on the novelettes and short stories, but let me note that I found Jyuth’s thoughts on magic pretty interesting and it was a good addition, explaining how the magic in this world works.

Twin Lies

This short story tells the tale of how Florian ended up in the army, and in an elite team at that. A bittersweet thing about family, love and fate’s fickleness. We didn’t learn much about Florian in Kingshold, so it was nice to spend some time with him not surrounded by his friends, Motega and Trypp. It also added some depth to his personality and that’s always a bonus.

All That Shimmers

I think this one was my favorite in this collection. Through Kyle’s eyes, we get a glimpse into the life of Unedar Halt. The dwarf city under Kingshold. Kyle is working as a chiseler – someone who is responsible for carving new tunnels and chambers, decorating them – with the help of giant purple worm. One day they find a new cavern with a monster dwelling in it. A creature no one knows much about and there are only a few mentions of it in the archive. Kyle decides to get down to the end of the matter and finds a surprising alley to pull it off. Kyle is not exactly a hero type, but he is stubborn, determined and once he gets something in his head, he sees it through.

Of Buccaneers and Bards

I was actually surprised to find a pirate story in this lot. But that just proves how colorful this world is. Vin Kolsen is a pirate finding himself in trouble, waiting for his trial when first he gets a cellmate then another pirate ship arrives to the village to take everything they can get. Prisoners included whom they use as slaves on the ship. While Kolsen keeps his cool and knows his way around pirates and situations like these, Mareth is not one for physical work. Or piracy for that matter. But for him to get out of this mess and Kolsen to realise his dreams of becoming a pirate captain, they have to work together. There are some cool twists in the story and we can see Mareth in work too, using his extraordinary skills as a bard.

Narrowing It Down

It was an interesting little story about Petra and Alana trying to figure out why the two leaders of the Narrow were so angry with each other. To have a chance at the elections, the girls have to find a way to make peace between the two in order for them to work together. They set out to learn the two sides of the same story, visiting close family members, friends and finally those who actually know what happened.

The Working Dead

Okay, so, if I didn’t expect pirates, then I definitely didn’t see the zombies coming. Personally I’m not into zombies, I totally could do without them, but I didn’t mind them this time around. The three friends, Motega, Florian and Trypp are hired to find out what’s going on in Stableford, where the dead don’t seem to rest in peace. The necromancer who once tried to occupy the town came back? Or someone else is behind these strange events? And will they be able to deal with him?

Hollow Inside

If I had to choose a top 3, Hollow Inside would be totally one of them. Through Fin’s eyes we can look behind the scenes of how the feared Hollow Syndicate works. Specifically, how they choose their members. This story is a kind of Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games, where students train every day so when the right time comes they could fight their way into the higher circles of the Syndicate. Fin, being the only under trained for the challenge has something the others didn’t: knowledge and the ability to read people. Will this be enough?

Circles

After the election, Neenahwi finally agrees to undergo the Quana to receive her purpose in life and to keep the traditions of her tribe alive. First she has to make her body and mind ready to receive the visions awaiting for her. She not only learns uncomfortable truths about her life but she also gets some answers as to what happened to the elves. How did they become an extinct race and why only Llewdon survived. The current emperor of Pyrfew, and former tormentor of Motega and Neenahwi. The things she sees, I’m sure they’ll play some part in the coming events.

Tales of Kingshold is a fun read for those who read Kingshold and want to learn more about the characters and the world. And need something to kill the time with while waiting for book #2 in the series. Woolliscroft managed to put together a wide selection of genres, topics, characters ensuring everyone will find something endearing to them. Be it heartwarming tale, pirates, zombies, magical creatures, diverse cultures, plenty of fights, Tales of Kingshold has them all.

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