An ENE Review of the novel
Emach's Story by Sandaidh


Reviewed by JZ Sharpe

Is it possible to create a brief epic? I ask this question because if I wanted to describe Emach's Story, that's what I would say. Although it's not long, it covers a lot of ground, story-wise.
It begins with the story of Emach himself. Abandoned in the snow as a child, he is raised in poverty by the couple who finds him, and when he comes of age, he is sold into the Army for a handful of change. Although military life is hard, he catches the eye of the Emperor's niece, and soon becomes her sexual plaything until he impregnates her. She manages to end the pregnancy, but also unleashes her anger on Emach, and after being taken prisoner, he escapes and lives the life of an angry fugitive. One might think he would live out his days in this way, but he stumbles into a secret forest, which not only changes his life, but becomes the centerpiece of the novella as well.
Cut to many centuries later. The nomadic Cois have taken in a woman who has no memory of her life up to this point, and no voice. They name her Sahmish, the silent one, and soon discover she has mysterious healing powers. Where did these powers come from? Why does she have fleeting memories of a magical forest, with a ring of twelve perfectly-spaced trees? Of course, the reader will soon know the answer, but I prefer to move on.
The last part of the story takes place in the present day, where Benton, a real estate developer, is about to build the shopping mall of his dreams. His dreams bring resistance from a group called the Cois, and he is invited to a Cois gathering, to learn more about them and the reasons why they would rather he built that mall somewhere else. The reader follows the thread back to the second story and eventually back to the first, for although Emach's Story inhabits three different timeframes, and might appear to be three separate stories, it is all essentially the same tale, woven together like the "shimmerlight" found in the magic forest called Sheekahr Kahll.
This makes it sound like Emach's Story covers a lot of ground - and it does. Still, in the less than two hours it took for me to read this story, I found myself wishing for much, much more. I never really felt like I got to know any of the characters deeply enough, nor did I get an explanation of the magic spanning these three stories to satisfy my curiosity. This is a beautiful bit of original mythology that could really stand some "fleshing out." That would include more depth to the characters and more worldbuilding, too. (By the way, this does not apply to the sex scenes. They're not only well-written, but they support the story, too, rather than just tossed in as erotic filler.)
I would like to think of Emach's Story as a wonderful start. Rich fantasy worlds have fascinated people from the beginning of human imagination. I would like to think that those who read this novella (and you should, you know) are getting in on the ground floor of something yet to come that is even more grand. So, I wonder - will there be more? Please?

Emach's Story by Sandaidh is available for purchase through Amatory Ink

Read an excerpt of Emach's Story.


For the past five years, JZ Sharpe has been making up for the time she lost in a 20-year writer's block. She lives in the Pennsylvania mountains, where most of her friends and coworkers would be shocked and amazed by her secret life as a writer of erotica and science fiction. JZ Sharpe is a regular contributor to ENE. You can also find her work at About's Amateur Erotica, Adult Story Corner, Biblio Eroticus, Blood Moon Zine , Dare , Erotica Readers Association, HotErotica.Com and Scarlet Letters . Get lashed by the Sharpe Tongue.

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