“After Burning” is out today, friends, available for free at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. (If you like it, though, and stories like it, may I recommend a BCS subscription? Scott Andrews is a tremendous editor, and I’ve discovered many of my own favorite writers through the magazine.)
If you enjoy the story (I hope you enjoy it!), then you might be interested to know that it is directly connected with my WIP novel, Ash and Ordinary. The short story, set in a border settlement of the theocratic Marethi Ordinary, takes place about six months before the opening of the novel. The novel’s primary POV character is none other than the Wolf himself, but he is surrounded by a trio of badass ladies.
Grandmother and widow Farin Lais only wants the quiet retirement of running a village tea house; wasteland scavenger and river-pilot Esmat Ahuja is trying to smuggle a man home from a war zone. And the Wolf’s new and dubiously-loyal undead comrade, Sirin, is keeping secrets that may spell the end of the Ordinary itself — or its salvation. When the four of them collide, the Wolf — still coming to terms with his own crippling injury and trauma — will have to decide whether saving the empire he serves from the traitors in its shadow requires him to betray it first.
The story is rooted in the legend of Prester John, but also contains elements of Joan of Arc, the Tunguska event, Cossacks, various medieval heresies, and zombies.