Thursday Quotables – There Shouldn’t Be Elves in Hammertown

THERE SHOULDN'T BE ELVES IN HAMMERTOWN (Stephen Dorning) In the small dwarven city of Hammertown, far from the front lines of the war between elves and the rest of the civilized world, Private Investigator Sebastion Locke has discovered a dirty little elven secret. A secret that could turn the tide of the war. If it doesn't destroy him and his beloved city first!

There Shouldn't Be Elves in Hammertown (Stephen Dorning)“Relax, Cap,” I said paying more attention to the surrounding than to Mr. VanDarn, “we’re on the same team.”

“What!? This be the crime scene not a tourist attraction, and that’s Captain to you, you oversized poke of bat guano! The nerve of… I’ll take you around back of this building an’ pound some manners into that gimlet li’l butt o’ yorn. The we’ll see who yer callin’ ‘Cap’.”

“I might just take you up on that…” I started but Yon touched the inside of my elbow. I glanced at him and he gave a barely noticeable shake of his head. It was just about then that another oen of the Civil Watch approached.

“Captain,” he said, saluting. “We found a witness. An old dwarf was lying behind the bench over there. Said he was bedding down for the night when it happened…”

“What?” I whispered to Yon.

“Rumor has It he used to be in the Phoenix Guard, Boss,” Yon whispered back.

“Oh.” The Phoenix Guard was an elite group of Dwarven Military. They were the ones you called when the guano got too deep. The best trained, best equipped and toughest outfit there was. Phoenix Guard were the ones that piloted the steam-operated Power Armor on the Front Line. I wasn’t quite sure what a dwarf with Mr. VanDarn’s qualification was doing running the Civil Watch in a town like ours, but I’m kind of glad Yon was there to stop me from making a mistake that might’ve cost me some teeth.

quotation-marks4I stumbled upon There Shouldn’t Be Elves in Hammertown by Stephen Dorning by mare chance on Goodreads. I was immediately taken with the title, with the fact that this is dieselpunk and with the fact the main character is a detective, although I know this is kind of a cliché. The feel is very much like the Oberon Saga by Ari Marmell, which I loved in the Broken Time’s Blues anthology, so I figured I should give the story a shot.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. Right, I’ve always had a soft spot for dwarves ever since I’ve read Tolkien, but I didn’t expect this to work this nicely. Elves who are on the ‘bad’ side? A weary noir detective? A dwarven underground town? I immediately loved everything about the story. Not just the setting, which is itself is very nice, but also the very noir main character Sebastian and his amused,  wry voice.
This is basically a detective story: there’s a mystery, there’s a murder even, there’s people disappearing and there’s possibly a political plot afoot. And all mixed up with a generous dose of noir, classic fantasy element and new dieselpunk suggestions.
Truly enjoyed it.

So I’m happy to discover there’s more. Apparently, the author is writing a series of novelettes that will eventually all tight up together in a larger story, which is an idea I like. Fun as this story is to read as a tand alone, it is quite clear it’s just the beginning of a larger story.

I’ll hunt down the rest.


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About the Author

I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.

2 Comments on "Thursday Quotables – There Shouldn’t Be Elves in Hammertown"

  1. Dwarven military? Ha, this seems really adorable and fun.
    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies recently posted…Thursday Quotables: Stand-OffMy Profile

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