Friday, November 6, 2015

Shadows for Silence

My regular readers will understand my appreciation for the talents of author Brandon Sanderson based solely on the number of his books that I have reviewed in the past couple of years. My most recent Sanderson read was actually a novella that started with a request for a contribution to an anthology being put together by George R.R. Martin focused on "Dangerous Women". Sanderson wanted to contribute a piece that he had already roughed out. However, he finally decided to go back to the drawing board and create something entirely new. He decided that writing about a powerful and cunning female warrior was a bit expected, a bit too formulaic, a bit too easy. Instead he labored to craft a story about a dangerous woman of a different sort. The result was Shadows for Silence.

Silence Fontane is the owner of a waypoint, a safe haven located within a zone known as the Forests of Hell. Silence, an elderly woman of two small children, makes end meet from her rewards as a bounty hunter. Within the Forests exists a gallery of rogues and ne'er-do-wells who believe that they are above the reach of law. Silence is a killer of killers who survives amongst this lot by carefully hiding what she does. A kindly tavern maid by day and a clever and ruthless killer of killers at night. A woman who is at once motherly and cold. Her role as a bounty hunter is something of a family tradition, a role that she was groomed to take on in some ways.

The Forests are an inhospitable frontier where the humans coexist among supernatural evil beings known as shades. Creatures benign in some ways and entirely destructive in other ways. Silence holds onto a tenuous equilibrium doing what she must to survive and maybe even exact a bit of justice.