Nobles are noble and heroes are heroic–except when they’re not. Many tales have the captured hero or royal that must outwit or outfight their way back to their seat of power to avenge wrongs and family legacies. So, it’s particularly nice when that theme gets upended, whether by Stockholm Syndrome or not, and the captured hero has little intention of playing the hero.
This tale centers on a captured king. His half-brother, the former king, has died and then The Illusionist captured the current heir, spiriting him off to the far desert cathedral without a human around. The king’s only companion is an android with a gambling problem.
One day The Illusionist sends a female prostitute the king’s way, knowing full well that the king prefers manlier companionship . . . The young woman is a Crownie, a loyal royalist, with a plan to get the rightful king back to his throne–if only he was interested . . .
This tale appears in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, which I received directly from Prime Books.
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