The Paragon Lure

Alembical 2

“The Paragon Lure”
Alembical 2, Paper Golem LLC, 2010. (fantasy novella)
translated and reprinted as “Przynęta idealna” in Steps Into the Unknown (Kroki w nieznane), 2011. 

“Could the Paragon of Elsinore be among them?”


According to Walter H. Hunt’s introduction, the novella is the hardest form to get right, but editors Schoen and Dorrance have found three authors who nail it perfectly. In Tony Pi’s ‘The Paragon Lure’, an immortal thief investigates an elegant and occasionally nerve-racking mystery about a flawless pearl…plenty of story for readers to sink their teeth into. — Starred review, Publishers Weekly

…a trifecta of wonderful novellas from Tony Pi, David D. Levine and J. Kathleen Cheney. The novellas in this book individually would be worth the purchase price, together, they’re a bargain…an interesting combination of caper piece and urban fantasy…There are stories that hit just right – like a fine automobile just out from a tune-up – and this story purrs like a Rolls Royce. — Chris Gerrib, POD People

Pi’s story is a classic caper story involving a gentleman art thief, but with a twist – the thief is more or less immortal, among other things. This is not a spoiler, as Pi reveals this fact in the sixth paragraph: “the earring in the photograph could well be sister to the one I stole four hundred years ago from Bee.” Felix Lea belongs to a secret society of near immortal shape-shifters. Aside from the jewel robbery itself, which does not go as planned, what makes the story interesting is Pi’s explanation of how the shape-shifting works and his development of the society of shape-shifters, complete with rivalries and faked deaths. — Cathy Green, SF Revu

Tony Pi’s “The Paragon Lure” is part… what? Mission Impossible, Highlander, It Takes A Thief and The Italian Job (new one)… and Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth — back when Shakespeare was still working — and Elizabeth didn’t need a number. Oh yeah, deliciously high tech and historically complicated at the same time. Felix Lea is great fun and though we don’t know everything that is going on, he does and we want him to win…Recommended. — Dr. Phil Kaldon

Tony Pi’s “The Paragon Lure” is a prequel to his “Metamorphoses in Amber”, published in Abyss & Apex (Issue #24: 4th Quarter 2007). Art dealer Felix Lea is a member of a nearly immortal group of shape-shifters, the Elect, who use the distilled power of insectoid metamorphosis trapped in Amber to heal and change. Their rivalries and power-balances shift over the centuries, so stories set in this world are a sort of alternate history. This time it’s about some fascinating and deadly unfinished business from the time Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, but set in present day England with cell phones, jewel thieves and their fences, and a police detective who just happens to be the daughter of the fence who works for Felix Lea. The Paragon Lure is a gem associated with Good Queen Bess, and it’s used to bait a deadly trap that has no concern for mere mortals. Highly recommended. — Wendy S. Delmater, Abyss & Apex

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