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Brendell: Apprentice Thief
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ISBN-10: 1-89484-105-0
Genre: Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 192 Pages
Published: January 2002

Total Readers: 6

From inside the flap

Collected herein are the stories of another character created by Pat Welch that will please those of us who still miss the Grey Mouser stories of Fritz Leiber and the Retief stories of Keith Laumer. Brendell is a member of the Thieves Guild and these are his adventures as he tries to gain his Journeyman status. On this world there are thieves but they have a code of honor and only steal when under contract and have a set of rules to live by. In these stories, Brendall must obey the rules but he will bend them as much as possible in order to do the right thing by his own instincts. There is plenty of magic, twists, double-crosses, dragons, demons, and delightful reading and if you are a fan of well written light fantasy with a well drawn lead character, this is one of the best ones to come along in a while.

Brendell: Apprentice Thief (Excerpt)


Finding a character you want to write about again and again is always a thrill for me. I say ?finding? rather than ?creating? because when such a character emerges on the page, he (or she) slowly reveals his personality, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. He matures and develops like a child, over time enriching the experience of both the writer and the reader. He almost has as much input into his stories as the writer, until it nearly becomes a situation where the writer turns into a secretary, merely taking down dictation from the character.

For me, Brendell has become such a character. I have always been fan of such fantasy authors as deCamp, Pratt, Leiber and others from the late 50’s to early 70’s, and I believe Brendell would have felt quite at home with the Gray Mouser. But while there are precedents for rogue characters in fantasy or science fiction (Laumer’s Retief and Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat for example), his immediate spiritual ancestor is not from fantasy at all. When I was first investigating the Brendell character, the fictional template that came to mind was Jonathan Gash’s Lovejoy, the antiques dealer/detective who has become so beloved by mystery fans. If Lovejoy were placed in a more primitive world, what would he have become? I believe you will soon read the answer.

Brendell is an apprentice thief to the Thief’s Guild, and as such he is often taken advantage of his Guild and by his clients. One loyal reader complained that, after the first four stories appeared, Brendell had not yet become a journeyman, the next logical goal for anyone involved in a trade union. I know people in trade unions and their apprenticeship can be a long and arduous process. And while Brendell lives in a fantasy world, it is a world that has its own rules which must be adhered to, a world that has slowly become exposed and developed from one episode to the next. Does Brendell finally earn his long-desired journeyman’s card? That will be revealed later in this book.

Many of these adventures have appeared earlier in various e-zines. Brendell made his maiden journey in the pages of the late, lamented Eternity On-Line. His presence in the premiere issue is an honor I take some pride in. It is not often that a beginning writer is published in the first issue of any magazine, and while I had placed a few stories previously, it was the first e-zine story I received any compensation for. Before Eternity closed its web site, five different Brendell stories appeared there; in order ’Slipped Disc,? ?Contract Flaw,? ?Rites of Tenure,? ?Thief of Hearts,? and ’Scepter Fidelis.? None of these stories is still available on the ?net (at least not to my knowledge and certainly not legally). Three other Brendell adventures have appeared elsewhere; ?Guardian Angle? (in Tavern Wench Journal) ’Statue of Limitations? (in The Wandering Troll) and ?Tiny Losses? (in Twilight Times). Except for some middling ?tightening up? to which I and most other writers are prone, I have left the previously published stories as they originally appeared. The other stories are new for this anthology.

The challenge in doing a continuing character is keeping the stories fresh while maintaining the internal consistency demanded by the character and his world. Most of the stories are essentially mysteries, magic is involved in about half of Brendell’s adventures. Brendell survives and conquers by using his wits and talents learned at the Thief’s Academy, not by strength or skill with weapons. The stories are presented in roughly chronological order, which is not the order in which the stories were originally written. There are a dozen tales total in this volume (Brendell for some reason doesn?t lend himself often to stories under 5,000 words. He is a talkative sort after all).

What lies ahead for who I like to think (I have delusions like everyone else) is the Internet’s favorite thief? I believe that is hinted at in the Epilogue, also new for this volume. I hope you enjoy Brendell. I have had a wonderful time chronicling his adventures and I for one wish to spend more time with him. I hope you will as well.

Travel well.

Patrick Welch - January 2002