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Friday, July 2, 2021

"The Phoenix's Peace" by Jody Lynn Nye

 First appeared in Writers of the Future 36, edited by David Farland.

What happens when you cross George R. R. Martin's famed Game of Thrones series with Mercedes Lackey (and other writers born out of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress series)? This tale.

Long ago, the priestess Thonia with the Phoenix of Dembia created peace and trade until she and the phoenix lay down and burned up in flames, leaving only an egg. Now, despite viewing many rituals, Melana, one of the sacred band of Protectors of the Egg, has not seen anything happen in her lifetime. Only if peace is threatened did the egg hatch. Usually, her band protected only one egg, but now there are two. And, of course, the peace will break, and so too will the eggs break open. 

This feels like it could be part of something larger--a novel, perhaps. The pacing luxuriates in its world-creation (and yes, the characters, being essential beings in this milieu, are as much world-building as character-building. The tension is subtle and slow-burning (based on love in a manner I can't recall seeing--fascinating).

One suspects that this story may have been written to fill a gap missing from this collection of tales--that of a world-building nature, pitting one fantasy culture against another. Writers of the Future contestants, take heed? 

Jody Lynn Nye has collaborated with Anne McCaffrey and Robert Lynn Asprin on several novels, and her solo novels include have the Mythology, the View from the Imperium and the Taylor's Ark series.

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