If there’s a single complaint I could make against Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), it’s this: I want more. That’s faint criticism, though, and makes me want to check out other authors, including Su Haddrell, which brings me to “A Smuggler’s Pact.”
Here we meet a pirate captain’s mate, a woman who is—frankly—sick to freaking death of her captain’s drinking habits and roving hands both, and who is quite grateful for a chance to take their booty down a river-path where a previous delivery went missing. What she finds there is both darkly terrifying and something far more rare: a potential opportunity. (The darkly terrifying part, though, makes this a great Hallowe’en time read—seriously creepy and there’s some squishy bits.)
The story ends where I wish I could turn the page to “Chapter Two.” As I said, it’s a familiar feeling in Scourge, and by no means do I intend to suggest these stories are incomplete. They’re just the kind of characters and settings and stories you wish would go on further.