“We Who Steal Faces”
Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show #22, April 2011. (fantasy)
illustration by Jin Han
“Mafeo Premarin, my eyes and ears in the shadows of Venice, was dying of poison.”
Flea is a spy for England’s Queen Elizabeth in her war against the Spanish, and an assassin is eliminating all his contacts in Europe, one by one. He is also a member of the Elect, a quasi-immortal and a shapeshifter whose magic allows him to assume the face of others. Now he is determined to save his agent in Venice by obtaining the legendary universal poison antidote of Mithridates.
A gondolier by trade, Mafeo had given me my first tour of the city by canal thirty years ago. I had grown fond of the young Venetian during our explorations, even more so after he tried to cut the strings of my purse at the end of the day.
But the antidote is in the possession of a much older, more powerful member of the Elect, who has reason not to trust Flea. And his enemy is older and more powerful still. A compelling adventure through a deadly labyrinth designed by the original Minotaur, full of traps and treachery. — Lois Tilton, Locus Online
Next is “We Who Steal Faces” by Tony Pi. The author has created an engaging spy thriller melding science fiction, fantasy, and historical drama. Flea, almost immortal and possessed of the power to assume any face he wishes, is a member of the Elect and a spy for Queen Elizabeth. When Flea’s spy network contacts start to sicken and die all around him, he suspects poison and must find the elusive universal antidote of Mithridates. Flea soon realizes the holder of the antidote and the enemy he battles are both more powerful than he ever suspected. — Rena Hawkins, Tangent Online
Story Extra (spoilers)