Monday, April 17, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Silverglass

"It takes a witch to enter Yth and return, so be thankful you have a witch with you!" Nyctasia said defiantly.

Silverglass by J.F. Rivkin

Silvergalss was always "one of those books".  One of those books I had meant to read, or always saw and was curious about, or picked up a couple of time but never bought.  A chance encounter at my local library book sale though changed that.  For a mere 50 cents (well a $1.00, book 3 was there too) I was able to grab this book.  I knew it was fantasy and I knew it had busty blonde warrior-woamn on the cover (complete with 80s hair), but that was about it.

I had some down time so thought I'd read this and knock a few out of my TBR pile.  Turns out there is a more (and less) here than I thought.

Silverglass is less about our cover girl here (no shock) and more about the dark haired woman behind her.  Though it is about both women and their adventures.   The blonde, Corson brenn Torisk, is a hard drink, hard fighting mercenary for hire who is in Rhostshyl only long enough to spend some money before headed home to see her lover; a respectable bar owner in the next town.  It is for this reason that she is hired by Lady Nyctasia r'n Edonaris.  Who, up till very recently, was a respected member of one of the richest families in the country. She is also on the run from the family of the man she was supposed to marry (and now wants her dead) and her own family (who also wants her dead).  Nyctassia is also a powerful witch.  Corson has no patience for the idly rich or magic, AND she was just hired by both families to kill Nyctassia.   Nyc offers to pay her more as a bodyguard.
Both women are thrown together to get out of town before they are killed. Their destinations? Both are running to men they love who have more "respectable" lifestyles.  Corson's Steifann owns a bar and wants Corson to settle down.  Nyctiasia is returning to Erystalben who wants her to live with him to study magic. At least that is the plan.  Things change on the road.  Given that this is book one of four you can bet there is not a lot of settling down.

A few things jump out at you in this book.  Corson is a swordswoman, a good one at that. We learn she was in the army before this and was convinced by a former officer to take up the life of a mercenary.  Yet at no time in the book does anyone ever call attention to the fact that it is a woman doing this.  It is just a matter of fact.  Not a big deal today to be sure, but in 1986 when this came out? Crazy I am sure.  I am glad I read this now, but I wonder what it could have been like in 86 to have read this.

I am also very much fascinated by Lady Nyctasia.  She has secrets on top of secrets, and like I said, despite the cover she is the focus of the book.  This becomes obvious on the later covers.

Don't read this series looking for deep insights or an epic tale. The first book is about two women trying to get back to their respective loves and not get killed in the process.  It is a fun little romp through a low-magic world with lots of threats, spooky forests, dive bars, gritty pirates,  and a ton of people trying to kill our heroes for the slimmest of reasons.  I enjoyed both characters and looking forward to reading more.

The "author", J.F. Rivkin, is actually two different people. One wrote the first two books and the other wrote the last two.  I am not sure who J.F. Rivkin is and I have not found out any information about a real identity either.

The book is out of print and there are no digital or audio versions I have found.  They pop up every so often at Half-Price books.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 11
Level: Mother
Witches in this book: One really.  Nytasia, though I suppose that Erystalben could also be considered one.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Nyctasia tries to be good, so that has to count for something.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Honestly, a LOT of RPGs work here. I did a quick and dirty write up for Corson and Nyc for D&D 5, Swords & Wizardry, and Blue Rose.  Just because.  I am thinking I will try them out in the new AGE-powered Blue Rose in a bit.
Use in WotWQ: Nyc will certainly make a guest appearance at some point.


Misha Burnett said...

Naw, female warriors in fantasy fiction was no big deal in the 70s and 80s.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

True. But they were not as common as they are now.

Cross Planes said...

It may not be very PC, but I'm a sucker for cheesecake art like this.