Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.
This was different, but worked for me as a novella. Longer and it may have overstayed its welcome.
The world and war are left intentionally vague, supporting elements to the real story of enemies growing towards each other as they get to know each other. Isolated, they admire the other’s cleverness and thrive on the added excitement of figuring out how to contact the other without being caught – and that grows into affection as they strip away layers of assumption and see each other as people, distinct from “their side.” Both profess deep commitment to winning, and yet their devotion is not necessarily to the cause but their own victory in their private contest. Neither side seems to be good, both commit acts of murder and salvation, there is no side to root for but theirs together. This loosely follows the beats of a Romance though the connection between them I feel has to be a bit more accepted than a standard Romance – I can see why they connect but not the strength of their affection, at least in a way that will last.
It was confusing at first but I figured out more of what was happening (not all) as it went on. The writing is much too poetic for my taste. I also didn’t discern a clear difference in their voices though that could be on me 😉
Not what I expected! Follows from The End of Eternity, Griffin and Sabine, A Sound of Thunder, The Company books.