Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Story Review: The Witch Who Came In From The Cold: A Long Cold Winter by Max Gladstone and Lindsay Smith

The city is Prague, occupied by Russian forces during the Cold War.  An American CIA agent sits down to make his final recruitment pitch to a target after 6 months of developing.  Meanwhile, two Russian KGB agents and witches, wait for a sorcerous elemental construct to make its appearance.

This is the first episode of the first season of a new serialized novel by Serial Box.  Each ‘episode’ is meant to take about 40 minutes to read and act like a TV show episode, able to be enjoyed on its own while contributing to a larger story.  Other writers for this series are: Ian Tregillis, Cassandra Rose Clarke and Michael Swanwick.  This series runs from January 13th 27th* until April 27th, with an episode being released each week. ** (please see note below for correct pricing information) Individual episodes cost US$1.56 including both text and audio, and subscriptions are available (with billing each week).  Serial Box has two other series underway, Tremontaine and Bookburners.

“A Long Cold Winter” is 23 pages long and sets up the characters, setting and plot for The Witch Who Came In From The Cold.  Prague has a high number of intelligence agents attempting to recruit the populace, and specific targets with access to useful information.  There’s a bar at the intersection of powerful ley lines, which are important for magic.  There is also a good number of interesting characters: Tanya and Nadia - agents working for two powerful organizations, Gabriel Pritchard - something unexplained in his recent past is causing him serious problems now, and Jordan - the bar’s owner, who knows things.

There are no answers here, just a lot of fascination introductions and questions.

* The release date for the series has been moved from January 13th to 27th, and will now run until April 27th instead of the 13th.

** I apologize for my error in reporting the pricing.  Individual episodes are $1.99 not $1.59 and is for either text or audio, available from several retailers.  If you want both text and audio it is $2.99 and only available via their website and app.  The $1.59 pricing I saw on their website is the subscription price, which includes both the text and audio (again, available only through their website or app).

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