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"The Diamond Shadow": 11/10/07
The second story in October/ November issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a novelet by Fred Chappell called "The Diamond Shadow." The premise is that light and shadow have forces that can be controlled for magical purposes. A trio of men, a shadow mage, his apprentice and a servant are called before a countess who has a diamond that has developed a disturbingly dark shadow. She wants it taken care of no matter what.
I liked the premise but the execution left me wanting something different. First there are the awkward names chosen for the main characters: Astolfo, Falco and Mutano. Then there is the Countess's ornate style of speaking which doesn't flow as well as it should. Finally there is the lack of explanation as to why the narrator is apprenticing. Without a good sense of where he is coming from and what his view of his world is, it's hard to understand the world in so few pages.