Title: To Hold the Bridge
Author: Garth Nix
This is a collection of short stories from Garth Nix, some of which tie to novels and some of which are original (or have tie-ins to other established series, as the case may be). Overall it’s a pretty strong collection, and below were some of my favorites.
To Hold the Bridge – The story that gives the book its title is the Old Kingdom contribution for this book. But even if you’ve never read any of Nix’s Old Kingdom books, it’s still a winsome story. Morghan is hoping to join the Bridge Company, which is constructing what will become the great bridge leading across the river to the capital, mostly because he’s eager for the provided food and board. Although it wraps up well enough, it also makes me wish Morghan would get a novel, as I’d love to read more about him.
A Handful of Ashes – Mari is funding her college education in witchcraft though a servant’s position at her college, but not all of the high-born students like that tradition. I like the setting, and the little details in the magic and the college, which operates under various Bylaws. This is, like many other stories here, showcasing a world that teases a lot of depth.
The Heart of the City – France, in the time of Henri IV. A guard gets tangled up in magic and mayhem as a strange procession enters the city. Interesting magic system, which involves angels partnering with men, and I especially liked the end. It feels like a launching point for an alternate-history.
Holly and Iron – A retelling that blends a few different tales (saying which ones would spoil the surprise). Another interesting and completely different magic system, the holly magic of the Inglish and the iron magic of the Norman. And a shapeshifting squirrel. (That alone ought to sell the story.)
All in all, whether you’ve read Garth Nix before or not this is a great place to dig in. I rate this book Recommended.