Looking For Goats, Finding Monkeys
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Dao Shi is not a bad man. Granted, he is a liar and a charlatan and a con-man, but aside from that he's not a bad man. He earns his living with mumbo-jumbo and magic tricks, convincing the gullible and superstitious that he is a master exorcist who can rid them of the demons and hungry ancestor-spirits that they blame for their bad luck, even though the closest Dao Shi has come to a ghost has been in his bad dreams after over-indulging at Mama Shen's.
One day though, Dao Shi runs into much more than he bargained for…
Looking For Goats is the first of the four Dao Shi stories originally published in Black Gate magazine to much acclaim, and sets in train events which result in Dao Shi being caught up in the treacherous politics of empire and war, and a series of life and death battles with demons, bandits, traitors and lawyers, in cities and boats and the dark sewers of the Underworld. Usually a firm believer that the best form of defence is cowardice, Dao Shi becomes a reluctant hero as he learns that the death of his son and his fellow-soldiers of the Mountain Eagles may hide a terrible secret that is connected with the fate of the Empire itself.
"You owe it to yourself to discover Rowan's fiction if you haven't already had the pleasure." (Jeff Vandermeer, two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award)
"Rowan is a superlative writer, skilfully blending humor, evocative image, and just the right touch of pathos to keep the tension humming." (Sherwood Smith, TangentOnline)