"I hesitated. Was Fairview dead? Was it worth my while to risk my own life for a dead man?"
Until risk arrives, you never know how important the things are that you're required to risk.
A soldier must decide how high a price he is willing to pay for an unspoken bond. A journeyman must choose between an assured future and an untroubled conscience. A boy learns that his life is a lie and must decide which truth he desires. A servant and his beloved master face stark truths as their lives are endangered. A young torturer, satisfied with his lot, gambles everything he has ever valued to learn a new way of treating prisoners. A master must risk the future of his slave, or else risk his own future. . . . "Risk" looks at the dangers and rewards of taking risks.
Winner of the Alternative Universe/Reality category in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, this second volume of Dark Light collects two novellas (short novels), two novelettes (miniature novels), and two short stories. These tales come from Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.
"The Unanswered Question" (The Eternal Dungeon). No weapons, no allies, and no guarantees that he will survive the test.
"The Lure" (Young Toughs). His entire life has been a secret. Now he must rip open the secret.
"Journey to Manhood" (Young Toughs). "Perhaps, when they spoke next, the other young man could tell Simmons of any masters here who were in need of an apprentice who was perilously close to the age of journeymanship."
"Lost Haven: a master, his servant, and a disappearing island" (Waterman). Amidst a servant's nightmare, can a haven of hope be found?
"Master's Piece" (Waterman). He was his master's piece: the model for his master's sculptures. But his master was different.
"Spy Hill" (Commando). On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.