Debut author Longworth presents a brief allegorical novel about financial well-being.
Richard Wyvern may be a commoner with yellow teeth who “reeks of cat piss,” but thanks to his ability to accumulate wealth, he has attracted the attention of one King Gwayne Sterling. King Gwayne makes Richard his treasurer, a position that allows Richard to expound on topics like the importance of putting away a percentage of one’s income, acceptable kinds of debt, and the appeal of passive income streams. Meanwhile Richard’s brother Abelot, a skilled swordsman and blacksmith, embarks on a man-of-war called the Silver Hare. Abelot’s mission involves much more action than Richard’s number crunching, though Abelot will also exercise good economic sense on his adventure. Abelot even learns the importance of increasing one’s skill set when he encounters a blacksmith named Cahít Andíno who will sell him a book of techniques to improve the quality of his equipment. The story surrounding Richard and Abelot is not a mere collection of practical advice, however. Throughout the book, swords swing, snakes bite, and blood spills. The latter is especially true when Abelot dispatches a foe by throwing a “kukri dagger,” causing the target to fall “facedown onto the floor, unable to move.” The juxtaposition of hack-and-slash fiction with practical advice is certainly a strange one, though the message is not lost. If King Gwayne had been more careful in tracking his expenses, he might not have needed to hire Richard in the first place. The narrative becomes cluttered at times, with characters introducing themselves to other characters and minor characters being introduced to the reader (as with “Tax Collector Sim Fostand, a scrawny pale man who wears a beige cotton tunic”), but generally, the descriptions are sparse. The narrative moves unencumbered by too much backstory or the reasons why Richard knows so much about keeping a tidy account book. The book is short and can be understood in a single sitting.
An offbeat though informative lesson in personal finance.