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Review: Unwanted – Dusk Peterson

Ambitious - Dusk Peterson

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewer: Maryann

Author’s Note: As of 2024, my fiction is only released through my subscription services, so I’m only releasing stories (including novels) via omnibuses, which I update whenever a new story is released.To receive notice of new releases, subscribe to my blog or newsletter. To receive all my new releases for a monthly fee, subscribe to one of my subscription services. See also the progress report on upcoming fiction in this series.

About The Book

A tatter-clothed lad on the battle-practice ground delivers a dilemma to a subcaptain on the rise.

The Review

Marcadian was completely remade by the Empire of Emor, after Chara’s soldiers and the Rebellion ’06.  The battle was devastating, and a bitter defeat for Marcadian.

Subcaptain Amyntas is overseeing the Practice Ground in Marcadian Capital of what has grown to be the largest Empire. It’s now a time of peace, but soldiers are always in practice or play battle mode to keep their sword arms strong. The Home Division and Infantry use the practice field, and the Vanguard is in the countryside, with maneuvers on horseback. Subcommanders would lead an entire army in war time. The Home Division Lieutenants were on the field, and the Sublieutenants were in the barracks with bottom-ranked soldiers, practicing leadership skills.

The Practice ground is packed with young men battling with staves and wooden blade swords, but among all of them one stood out. Thin, bruised and in his breech cloth, he fights on, and Amyntas notices that the man has been on the battlefield since dawn and has never retreated.

Subcaptains watch their Lieutenants practice, and consult with them to improve their skills.  Speaking with Subcaptain Lartius, Amyntas inquires about the young man and, finds he is former lieutenant of the unit Green-Silver-Gold.

Amyntas estimates the young man to be in his mid-twenties. He approaches the young man and watches as he interacts with a young civilian boy. These boys are always at Home Camp, helping soldiers and learning about army life, as they are too young to join. The young lieutenant turns the boys’ offer of help down. There is something about the him that makes Amyntas decide to take him somewhere more private to eat. He’s impressed with the young man, and finds out that he’s Marcadian, just like himself. He also shares his name with Amyntas, which is never done.  

What are Amyntas’s plans for the young man, and how will it affect Marcadian?

“Ambitious” is a side story from Peterson’s “Empty Dagger Hands: The Three Lands” series.  These side stories only give a glimpse into what’s happened in the main one, and leave me curious.  Amyntas knows things will change as he thinks of retirement. He seems to want wants his culture and country back, and this young man may be the key to its future… or its demise.  

Another fascinating short story from Dusk Peterson which illuminates another corner of his sprawling fantasy world. The characters are well-written and likable, making me want to explore this world even more. 

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.