Canticle by Ken Scholes

Frederico leaned close to smell the poison on his thirteenth wife’s cold, dead lips. It tickled his nose and he resisted the strong desire to kiss her that suddenly overcame him.

That you might lose yourself from sadness by my lips, my husband and Czar, her open, glassy eyes promised him. He looked away, uncomfortable with her empty, inviting stare.

Behind him, the Minister of the Interior cleared his voice and spoke. “The cabinet feels it would be more stabilizing to consider this an assassination. Jazrel was a most popular wife.”

Frederico nodded. She had quite a following among the young girls in Espira, the region she represented, and this was a dance he knew. He’d been in this very room three years ago to watch them cut his ninth wife’s body down.

When Sasha had hung herself with a rope of knotted silk, six thousand young women in Borut had done the same to declare sisterhood with their region’s wife.

I’m currently in the middle of Ken Scholes’ Lamentation and absolutely loving it. In my excitement, I thought it only suitable to showcase one of Scholes’ short stories set in the same world. Before releasing Lamentation, the first book of five in The Psalms of Issak, Scholes made a name for himself as a short fiction writer.

A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon is available HERE.

  • James April 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    For those of you who have read Lamentation, but have not yet gotten around to reading Canticle, I do suggest you read this short story first. Though it is set, I believe, long before the events of the novels, there are a handful of references to it in Canticle. It is not necessary, of course, but if you are like me and feel a bit of joy at spotting references to prior works then it is worth it.