If you recall, earlier this year I brought you word of a new series getting started up by D.P. Wooliscroft, with that first book entitled ‘Kingshold’ (you can check out that review right here). I’ve just recently finished reading an ARC of Wooliscroft’s latest entry in the series, named ‘Tales of Kingshold’ which not only expands the universe a bit, but also introduces the pattern of writing he’ll be following for these Wildfire Cycle books.
It’s an interesting sort of pattern, at that. At least, it’s one I’ve not experienced (or read through) before. What we’ll have is a full-length novel (as with Kingshold) followed by a collection of short stories, which is what ‘Tales of Kingshold’ is. While the novels will be sticking to a major narrative arc (and a relatively static time frame), the short stories allow for things to jump around a bit more. It also allows for different aspects of the world – and the characters that inhabit it – to be explored and built out.
While a variety of characters show up, it seemed to me that Neenahwi was the central person, as she appears across a few different of the stories. And that sort of makes sense, as she’s taken over as the main (magical) figurehead in Edland now that Jyuth has scarpered off (presumably into retirement, but one never knows). The first story she appears in was actually one of my favorites, as it explores a bit more of the world underneath the the ground in the story All that Shimmers. I won’t spoil it, but I do certainly hope that we see Kyle show up more in teh future.
Another story that we have Neenahwi showing up in, Circles, also features her brother Motega. In this one, we learn more about the tribe that they hail from and some of the customs that power the mythology of their people. Again, there are some clever twists and turns in it, and it leads to some rather interesting character development for Neenahwi. Again, can’t wait to see what else is in store for her in future books.
Interspersed between these stories are excerpts from Jyuth’s diary, which delve into more of how magic works in the Kingshold universe. This is welcome, as there was definitely a lot left open to the imagination in the first book. It cleared up some of the ideas I had, and just lends more background to the mechanics of how some of the stuff works. Frankly, you wouldn’t necessarily need it to understand the books (or the world), but it does add flavor. It also serves as a sort of palate cleanser to transition you from story to story.
By and large, ‘Tales of Kingshold’ could certainly stand on it’s own, without having to have read ‘Kingshold’ first. That said, it does reference events that occurred in the first novel (and even provides some additional background from different view points that simply couldn’t be explored in the main story), so I think it would be helpful to read them in order. Not that there are significant spoilers, but if you read these short tales first, there is some anticipatory tension (which comes from not quite knowing how a story thread turns out) that you wouldn’t get to experience. For me, I found ‘Tales of Kingshold’ to be a fun read, and I like this method that Wooliscroft is using to create this world of his in our minds. Now, to just sit tight and await the next novel! Tales of Kingshold is currently slated to be released on November 6, 2018. dpwoolliscroft.com