Ghosts of the Citadel grabbed me with the opening chapters due to its playful Sword and Sorcery setting. After you get past the first chapter’s torture scene you are in classic territory of hired swords, leather, magic and mysterious places to explore.
We join hired-swords Wydrin of Crossheaven and her business partner Sir Sebastian Caverson who are accompanied (and paid for) by Lord Firth as they explore the magically-protected Citadel and try to access its secrets. What makes it feel alive isn’t the setting, as it’s nothing that new, but the characters of Wydrin and Sebastian, who feel like people that you’d enjoy going on an adventure with.
Williams has a knack for the playful and the banter between them keep the whole thing moving along with an enjoyable tone. There are some nice moments of revelations about the characters pasts. And Lord Firth has an unshared agenda, which has unforeseen consequences, and is the reason to read the next bit (Children of the Fog). But even as mysterious as he is definitely going to play a central role in what’s the come as he gets moment in the spotlight.
That’s not to say it’s all light as Williams doesn’t pull her punches either and she’s a tricksy writer. Something happens and I had to check in my proof of the whole book if a character did actually die as I was that concerned about them.
This part is only short, 87 pages perhaps, but for 99p gives you a mini-adventure, lets you know Williams’ style and, I think, makes you want to read what happens next.