Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Alternative History
“Nobody messes with a Dalmyn wagon train. That is the credo of Dalmyn Cartage, and their drivers and guards are up to the task of keeping it that way.
Until Aleria anDalmyn goes out on her first assignment as wagonmaster and runs into a simmering quarrel involving an ancient boundary dispute and forbidden Mechanical weapons. And a Ghost Beast from an ancient tale, which Aleria would prefer not to believe in until the mutilated bodies persuade her otherwise.
Trapped in the suffocating depths of a crumbling mountain fortress by an ambitious and relentless foe, Aleria struggles to survive as her small party gets whittled down and her confidence in her ability to do her duty fades.
Even the sturdy presence of her guard Captain, Erlon, with his hand-and-a-half sword, and the handsome but diffident Kolwyn anLlannon, inheritor of the lore of the Old Ones, can protect her party if she makes the wrong move.”
“Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He now spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, blogging and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur.
Gordon lives in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his wife, Linda, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh.”
Aleria anDalmyn is coming into her own in Mountains of Mischief. New characters are introduced that I believe are going to be around for a while. The plot is compelling and dangerous at times. Aleria is promoted to Wagonmaster and is unknowingly carting illegal contraband on this first outing. As a result, loading the wagons has to change at Dalmyn Cartage and no last minute cargo will be accepted. When the King hears a report of the situation Dalmyn Cartage had to deal with he becomes alarmed at the unrest that is happening between some of his domains. Some of the warring is caused by undefined borders, some are caused by the grand designs from an overzealous Lord.
When Lord Raif gets orders from the King to ask Aleria if she would be willing to go do some reconnaissance and emissary work for the throne the next time she leads a Dalmyn wagon train out to make deliveries? Lord anDalmyn sees a business opportunity to expand their services to domains in outlying areas up into the mountains and down into an area called the Trench. This route would make a huge circle coming back into Kingsport on the far side. Aleria agrees as long she gets to pick her own crew, add an outrider, and extra guards on this mission.
Gordon A. Long does an excellent job rounding out his secondary characters, and painting the pictures of the landscapes as they change dramatically. I love the way he uses dialogue and emotions with all his characters, the reader can really get a good feel of who they are through their speech. The story is mainly told through Aleria’s eyes and occasionally we are given insights into her thoughts. She is insecure about her abilities at times but is able to confront her fears while showing her crew a stoic face. I have learned to love her as she matures into her own, she is smart, determined and spunky. She is good at taking charge and clever enough to turn events to her own advantage.
When the wagons get to Tyn Terfyn, Aleria and Erlon are treated to legends of the Old Ones, Tyn Dyfnant, and the Ghost Beast higher in the mountains. The well-developed plot takes off with several twists and unexpected events as Aleria and Erlon gather a small crew to accompany Kolwyn, the Lord’s son, up into uncharted territory. Kolwyn and a couple of shepherds serve as guides to explore the abandoned and crumbling Tyn Dyfnant for the existence of old maps. Knowing full well they are entering the sanctum of the Ghost Beast.
Mountains of Mischief is Book 3 in the World of Change series. Could possibly be read as a standalone but I would suggest reading Out of Mischief and Into Trouble first for a fuller understanding of Aleria, Kensel (her father), Maddoes, and Lord Raif. Original review ran January 19, 2016.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words