The civil war ends now.
Igtheos and his rebels have fought tirelessly against a would-be dictator and his army for almost two years. The city they’ve holed up in has become a prison, soon to be a tomb if they cannot arrange a means of escape.
When the enemy leader offers an armistice that’s too good to be true, Igtheos reluctantly accepts, thinking it will buy him enough time to smuggle those loyal to him out of the city. But he quickly learns the cost of choosing hope over caution as he finds himself caught in his enemy’s sinister plan, fighting a final unexpected battle. Failure means death, or worse, the loss of his loved ones.
And he only has one night to determine everyone’s fate.
From the Ashes is a novelette set two thousand years before the main storyline of The Heart of Quinaria series, introducing us to a bit of lore from this epic fantasy proposal written by B.S.H. Garcia. Igtheos and the rebels have lost the civil war, resisting under siege in a city that is becoming more and more a tomb, all in the futile attempt to stop the soon-to-be dictator Ashhat from taking the power.
When an armistice is offered, the opportunity is too good to not be accepted by Igtheos; at least, it would allow him to gain some time. However, soon it's revealed as an Ashhat's plan, taking the opportunity to unleash horrors on the city. Igtheos and her wife, the human Elize, will try to save her daughter, even if that means having to fight to escape from what has become an authentic tragedy for the rebels.
Told from both perspectives, Igtheos and Elize's ones, we become spectators of the struggle of both parents to keep their daughter safe; confronting unspeakable horrors just for a chance of protecting those that they love. In the background, there's also a plot that hints at a bigger storyline regarding the power of Quinaria, but which is not developed to focus instead on our characters.
Garcia wrote a story of parental love, while including many elements that hint a bigger worldbuilding that I hope to explore in the future. Personally, I would have liked a bit more of development of characters, but taking in account the length, the words are well used.
With From The Ashes, Garcia has created a story that works well as a standalone and as an appetizer for the main series; certainly an enjoyable read that gives us a jump point to dive inside Quinaria.
Disclaimer: This novella has been read as part of the SFINCS. This review/rating only represents my personal opinion and it might differ with what the team decides.
B. S. H. Garcia
We are all storytellers.
For some, it manifests through phone calls to friends or alcohol-infused boasting on a Friday night. To others, it means filling a canvas or baking an old family recipe. For me, storytelling is escapism, my form of self-expression, and the best way to understand this crazy world.
My passion for stories grew from orchestrating backyard epics with my siblings and summer after summer of library reading contests. After years of writing courses, short stories, a degree in English Writing from the University of Colorado, and some freelance work, I started Lost Relic Publishing in 2022 to release my debut novel, OF THIEVES AND SHADOWS, in 2023. It is the first installment of The Heart of Quinaria, an epic fantasy series with at least four books and four novellas/novelettes planned.
When I’m not writing SFF stories or fantasizing/cosplaying/reading about someone else’s, you can find me exploring Oregon’s beauty with my family or cooking up a storm–both often accompanied by wine.