Review: 'Weasel Presents', by Kyell Gold
The world has been developed in Gold’s three novels and one short fiction collection, Volle, Pendant of Fortune, The Prisoner’s Release and Other Stories, and Shadow of the Father. Now here are five new short tales of Argaea.
Four of the five tales are set during, or are connected to, Gold’s four previous books. The fifth, “Stolen Away”, is a new story that Gold says will be expanded in the future. Like the earlier Argaea stories, these have a very strong homoerotic element that has FurPlanet and Rabbit Valley restricting sales to adults (18 or older) — although Amazon.com (possibly misled by Sara Palmer’s innocent cover) have no such restriction.
In “Jherik’s Tale”, the surly young second son of a cougar-ruled minor barony in the Kingdom of Ferrenis is frustrated by being left at home while his older brother Marhik gets to lead a company of local soldiers to Caril, the national capital, in the emergency after the assassination of the Crown Prince (see Volle).
Angry and bored despite leading the training of new soldiers for the barony, Jherik (a minor character in one of the tales in The Prisoner’s Release and Other Stories) gradually finds sexual satisfaction at the paws of a handsome young coyote soldier, Mishel, and then true romance with the teen fox valet, Benton. This tale provides scenes of the minor nobility as well as of the general anthro culture of Argaea (p. 25):
…Benton beamed, his tail wagging as they resumed practice until Jherik had to remind him that an out-of-control tail was a liability in a fight.
“Helfer’s Busy Day” is not actually a new story; it was serialized on Yiffstar (now SoFurry) in 2007. Readers got to vote on what would happen next for each of the sixteen installments. This is a side adventure of the amorous and/or political misadventures of Volle’s irrepressible weasel best friend, Helfer, Lord Ikling, while Helfer tries to avoid the villainous rat lord Dereath Talison in the palace and, with his disreputable weasel companion Vinstrier, find Volle in the city. The story, besides the explicit gay sex scenes, offers good descriptions of the society of the royal palace and of less reputable parts of Tephos’ capital, Divalia (p. 43):
He jogged over to the front garden and spent a little time exploring the flowerbeds. The old red and purple geraniums were dying, and soon it would be time to replace them. He knelt, picked one, and brought it to his nose, inhaling the scent. Volle could smell them standing, even with his nose a couple feet higher than Helfer's, but Helfer'd always felt a keen nose was as much curse as blessing, especially in the palace. The few times he'd gotten close enough to some of the other nobles to smell them, he'd thanked Weasel for the rarity of the experience. Poor foxes and wolves had to walk around with scent-kerchiefs or just endure the assault of the palace's residents less gifted and therefore less aware-and less hygienic-than they.
“Birthday Wishes” takes place in Helfer’s home province of Vellenland, although the weasel is not present. Roffi is one of the otter staff of the mountain resort of Raging Waters, when the king of Tephos and his court come to vacation. Much sex, enjoyable and otherwise, is had by all.
“Yilon’s Journal”, set several years after the other stories and clearly a prequel to Shadow of the Father, is a diary kept by the second son of Volle. The diary tells of Yilon’s experiences from his fourteenth to year to his sixteenth, when he and his older brother Volyan are summoned from their comfortable home in their province of Vinton to the royal palace in Divalia, to meet their father, the absentee lord Volle. They are at the palace to learn to become Lords, but Volyan is the heir so what is Yilon’s fate to be, he wonders. During these two years Yilon mopes about missing his mother; he meets the boy mouse thief, Sinch; he has a scary brush with an arranged marriage; and he gets a first glimpse at his natural gender preference.
“Stolen Away”, the 'new' story, introduces Coryn of Blackmane farm, a naive wolf on his first trip to Divalia with his father. Coryn wants to see the city, but he doesn’t plan to do it at night under the tutelage of a young rat-thief, Two-Claws. Coryn’s experience is more adventurous than he intends, but it has unexpected consequences. One line in the story hints at Gold’s planned expansion into a novel.
Weasel Presents is an enjoyable addition to Gold’s tales of Argaea. It should not be missed by the fans of that series.