The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives

RoguesThe Curious Affair of the Dead Wives by Lisa Tuttle
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Miss Lane interviews a new client, a little girl named Felicity who has seen her dead older half-sister (Alcinda) standing above her mother’s grave before being pulled away by a disagreeable gentleman who scared her. Although Lane isn’t hopeful after receiving the dead half-sister’s diary, her partner Mr. Jasper Jesperson seems intrigued by coded message that the half-sister left at the end of the diary that he decoded. The two detectives journey to the dead young woman’s cemetery and end up at her undertaker’s home in which they find mother and several “wives” including the unfortunate Alcinda who they rescue. Yet at the end of the story, even the protagonists wonder who the real rogue was in the case. This little mystery was a nice change of pace within the anthology as well homage to Doyle’s Holmes and Watson with a unique twist. I only wish there was more story to the story.

The Caravan to Nowhere (Tales of Alaric the Minstrel)

RoguesThe Caravan to Nowhere by Phyllis Eisenstein
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Alaric the Minstrel is hired to join a merchant caravan across the desert to perform entertainment for the men, but from the start his employer warns him about his own son. It turns out the young man is unbalanced, wanting to chase after the mirage of the “Lost City” but is always looked after by his father as well as his men. However, both Alaric and the merchant learn that some of the men are upset at this arrangement and one looks to take over the trade of a very valuable drug as well as getting rid of the kid. Alaric’s ability comes in handy to save not only his life the merchant’s as well, but the merchant’s son is left to chase after his life’s pursuit. The story was fine and upon finishing a tad predictable, but there wasn’t really a “roguish” feel to it though.

Diamonds from Tequila

RoguesDiamonds from Tequila by Walter Jon Williams
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sean Makin, a former child-star who suffers from a physical deformity, is shooting his feature film in Mexico along side his “tabloid girlfriend”. However, things suddenly go south when he finds his “girlfriend” dead in her room and film’s production & quality is put in jeopardy. Sean finds himself navigating Mexican authorities, DEA agents, and a shadowy prop assistant who has found ingenious uses for a 3D printer. Sean finds himself bribing local Mexican police to shot at windows then meeting a drug lord and then confront the man who accidentally killed his “girlfriend” to extort money from his corporate employers in an effort to save his one shot at a stable acting career. The story features several types of rogues and is very good, but sections of Sean’s thoughts require you to have read Williams’ book The Fourth Wall which lowered the rating.

A Cargo of Ivories (Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz)

RoguesA Cargo of Ivories by Garth Nix
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz break into a home of wizard-merchant and suddenly find their plan to take 14 ivory figurines that anchored godlets to the mortal plane into safekeeping upended. These two rogues find themselves up against a rogue young thief and a rogue goblet that has taken possession of the unfortunate wizard-merchant. The story rapidly proceeds from the mansion of the unfortunate merchant to the city’s centuries-old ceremonial ship that starts to come apart as it goes against the tide and wind. I have been wanting to read Nix for a while, mainly his Abhorsen series, but having been introduced to Hereward and Fitz as well I need to read the other stories they’re involved in. A cast of rogues of one variety or another, action-packed, and wonderful world building throughout for those unfamiliar with the world that doesn’t slow the story. It just adds up to a fantastic story.

Ill Seen in Tyre (Young Gordianus #3.5)

RoguesIll Seen in Tyre by Steven Saylor
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Young Gordianus and his tutor Antipater have arrived in the latter hometown of Tyre on their way to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but Gordianus finds out that his mentor has a soft spot for illogical magic and mythic heroes. While staying at a tavern, Gordianus learns of the local heroes Fafhrd and Grey Mouser who had very roguish adventures in the city and interacted with Antipater’s grandfather on one occasion. But all of this is prelude to Antipater purchasing the Books of Secret Wisdom and both of them getting taken in by the seller and possibly everyone in the entire tavern as well. But Antipater doesn’t care and Gordianus, while furious, has to let it go. The story itself gets a tad predictable when the seller arrives, but the highlight was the descriptions of Fafhrd and Grey Mouser which were created by Fritz Leiber and who I know what to read myself.

A Better Way to Die (Jonathan Hamilton)

RoguesA Better Way to Die by Paul Cornell
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Jonathan Hamilton believes he’d heading to his death on an estate that is connected to multiple alternate worlds, facing off against a younger version of himself that he had “humiliated” several weeks prior at a dinner party in a card game. Now his younger Alt-Self has stolen money from the College of Heralds and even kidnapped a young senior Herald Precious Nothing before making his way to a place he can get back home or take Hamilton’s place. Unfortunately this story suffers because unless you’ve read previous Jonathan Hamilton stories, what I just wrote above is the only thing you understand in the entire story. The story features a little twist that makes you wonder who the “true” rogue of the story is, but without understanding anything about the world it’s almost worthless.

The Meaning of Love

RoguesThe Meaning of Love by Daniel Abraham
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In independent “city” within a city, a life-long resident has taken a exile prince under her wing while he’s hiding from his evil stepmother. While Asa has used her street smarts to keep Prince Steppan alive, he has fallen in love with a girl he hasn’t met who is about to be sold as a slave by her family for much needed money. Asa promises to save Steppan’s great love and then runs into to bounty hunters looking for a recent Chancellor of the greater city around her hometown. Knowing the man, Asa comes up with a plan to help both her friends get what they want and in true roguish fashion even makes some money as well.