*I received a free ARC of this short story, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: When the Pentagonal Citadel’s Fire Wall is breached as a result of a robbery, giving the perpetrators access to the most dangerous artifacts stored in the Vault, Magister Sajar Randhar finds himself in hot water.
His security clearance is pulled and he’s placed under house arrest for the entire duration of the investigation. But who could have hacked the most impregnable security system in the entire Murican Empire? How did they manage it in the first place? And why remove Sajar from the investigation instead of having him cooperate with the authorities?
The veteran mage is left with no other choice but to take the investigation into his own hands. The case is incredibly complex, but with his great experience and top-notch skills as a magic security specialist, there’s no better man for the job.
About Programagic Cycle:
Welcome to the world of wonders, where magic and technology are one. This is where
sorcerers code spells and install them into items and artifacts to imbue them with specific properties.
Magister Sajar Randhar is a seasoned expert in the field of magic security, and one of the best codemages in the Murican Empire. Yet, his work and his passion for state-of-the-art innovations in magic science have been known to lead him into trouble. And sometimes that means having to conduct his own investigations to untangle the most intricate cases.
But there’s more to it than danger, chases, or shootouts. Sometimes the solution is far more complex, demanding him to roll up his sleeves and write the code for a particularly sophisticated spell to solve a crime, prevent a potential catastrophe, or save his own life.
This sci-fi fantasy short story crosses Information Technology, Computer Science and programming with magic; with clever, and sometimes funny results.
The two main character are the narrator and his Spirit – an AI of his own construction, similar to a djinn. The narrator, Majister Sajar Randhar is under house arrest due to the successful hacking of his unhackable Fire Wall and the theft of secrets vital to National Security. From the confines of his home, he and Spirit discuss the situation, to try to puzzle out who might have breached the security, why, and – perhaps most importantly – HOW?!
The story ends on something of a cliffhanger; feeling like it is a setup for a new world of story-potential, rather than a standalone short story. Not much actually happens, but there is a wealth of worldbuilding information and character development that promise an exciting techno-mage adventure from this series… so stay plugged in for more!
I came to work one morning only to be arrested just as soon as I came in and escorted to my superior’s office. They accused me of utter incompetence, criminal negligence, and (something no one had expressed explicitly, but everybody clearly implied) something virtually equivalent to malevolent intentions on my part, which would eventually lead to a successful attempt to hack the Fire Wall—and that’s a charge I’ll keep denying until I’m blue in the face.
– Anton Eine, Behind the Fire Wall
Behind the Fire Wall is available on Amazon right now, and you can find my review of more short stories by the same author here: The Cleansing review, Post-molecular Comfort Food and My New Superjob reviews.