From Man To Man is the debut short story by D.E.M. Emrys, a prequel to his heroic fantasy book It Began With Ashes book one of The Wroge Elements saga. I've been fascinated by the veracity and ingenuity of Emry's book reviews that I've read (so far) as he was able to channel the essence of the book skillfully into his reviews, making them a thorough pleasure to read. Also he's a self-professed fan of David Gemmell and his debut book might be inspired by this legendary writer, which also amps up my anticipation for this title.
From Man To Man focuses on Draven Reinhardt, an older ex-warrior who hasn't lost any of his deadly martial skills, however has lost the reasons to continue as a warrior. He lives in a small village called Hidann wherein he strives to tread the path of an honest person working small but menial jobs. However destiny and his attitude mark him out to be otherwise. Soon after his most recent job loss, he gets an offer to use his skills albeit in a role as a guard, however things are never as crystal clear as they seem. Draven needs to find out whether he can continue to be the person he is attempting to be and also figure out where his future lies ultimately.
The author writes with a fairly sharp prose style, he sets up the story and introduces Draven and his miserable situation. This short story gives a stark look into what happens to the life of an ex-soldier and this perhaps is a dicey move as with the length of the story, it leaves the readers wanting to know more but not getting their due. The pace of the story is something that helps, as the story never loses steam and once the situation is set up, the reader is drawn into Draven’s world and thoughts. The reader will then have to follow through to the end of the tale wanting to see how it ends and what does Draven accomplish.
In my estimation this is a good short story with some deficiencies in regards to the story setup. Also the end action sequence & climax perhaps raises more questions than the answers it provides. It does however leave the reader with a strong desire to know more about the world and about Draven, who as an axe man, has big boots to fill. From Man To Man does serve its intended purpose to intrigue readers, present the main character and showcase the author’s skills. In the end I can vouch that it’s a good short story, which ends a bit sooner than expected. There’s also an excerpt of the upcoming book It Began With Ashes that helps in knowing more about the story to come. Give it a shot; I know I will, as I’ll be waiting to see where D.E.M. Emrys takes the story next.