God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig by Tad Williams (A Bobby Dollar Novella)

When I read Tad Williams I always think about his huge epics such as The Otherland or Shadowmarch series’, but in the last couple of years he has also begun writing an urban fantasy series based around an angel advocator named Bobby Dollar. This series started with the book: The Dirty Streets of Heaven. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig is a standalone novella that is the perfect short read for Christmas (well if you like your holidays bloody).

If you haven’t read a Bobby Dollar book before then this won’t spoil the series for you, there is enough exposition to explain who the characters are, without boring you if you have ventured into this world before. Set on Christmas Eve we find Bobby being bored to tears by Christmas songs (it’s always nice to realise you have things in common with fictional characters) whilst he is waiting for a person to die. This would sound grim, except that this is Bobby’s angelic job, to advocate for the souls of the newly deceased so that they can be judged on the life they have lived.

In this case Bobby is there to advocate for Peter Vesić, who had lived a life full of hard decisions. Before dying Peter was searching for a monster that had destroyed his family. Bobby decides that he has to help this soul, so that he can move on in peace, and so this starts Bobby on his newest adventure. Bobby’s life can be fairly dangerous, but this time he may be in over his head as he has to face werewolves and Nazi doctors!

For such a short story this was a really fun romp that not only didn’t feel rushed, but even managed to include the humour that would be needed in a story that is full of death and sins of the past. I particularly liked the way that there was even a mini miracle tucked in there for one lucky character. I would recommend that people put off by the epic nature of some of Tad Williams’ work should check out his short stories - once you do, you will want to immerse yourself fully in the larger worlds he creates.

8/10 For such a short story this was a really fun romp.

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