Birthday Reviews: Mary Rosenblum’s “Night Wind”

Birthday Reviews: Mary Rosenblum’s “Night Wind”


Mary Rosenblum was born on June 27, 1952. She was killed when the small plane she was flying crashed on March 11, 2018. She wrote mystery novels under her maiden name, Mary Freeman.

Rosenblum’s 1994 novel The Drylands won the Compton Brook Stephen Tall Memorial Award for best first novel. In 2009 her short story “Sacrifice” received the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. Her novella “Gas Fish” was a Hugo Award nominee and “One Good Juror” made the shortlist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Two of her stories, “Rat” and “The Eye of God” were considered for the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award.

Rosenblum sold “Night Wind” to Deborah J. Ross for inclusion in the anthology Lace and Blade. The story has never been reprinted, although Rosenblum’s “Dragon Wind” appeared in the second Lace and Blade anthology. “Night Wind” was a nominee for the Nebula Award for Best Novelette in 2009.

“Night Wind” is set in a Renaissance period Spain where magic can be passed down from father to son. Alvaro is the scion of a noble line, but his father’s magical power has been taken from him and Alvaro does not have any magic of his own, a situation the family is trying to hide. Having studied at university with the great scholar Delarentario, Alvaro has returned to his ancestral estates where his mother is trying to forge a marriage alliance with the merchant Salvaria. Along the way, Alvaro is accosted by the brigand Night Wind.

Over the succeeding days as Salvaria and Alvaro’s mother hammer out details of Alvaro’s marriage to Renata, the young man has additional run-ins with the brigand who has focused attention on Alvaro’s neighbor, a Duke who has squandered his magic, and his son, Bacario, who mistreats the serfs and slaves on their property. Night Wind works to see that the slaves receive a modicum of justice and Alvaro begins to appreciate the brigand as a sort of Robin Hood figure.

Rosenblum builds a rich setting, but the twists she introduces into the story are obvious well before her revelations. Few of the relationships have any real depth, perhaps the one that stands out the most is the antagonistic association between Bacario and Alvaro as the two men disagree with each others’ methods and taunt the other for perceived weaknesses.

Reviewed in its only publication in the anthology Lace and Blade, edited by Deborah J. Ross, Norilana Books 2008.

Steven H Silver-largeSteven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW and NESFA Press. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Doing Business at Hodputt’s Emporium” in Galaxy’s Edge. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7. He has been the news editor for SF Site since 2002.

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