This dark but evocative piece of short fiction is set in Hungary in 1610. We are not given the name of our narrator, but we are immediately told that her sister, Marika, has been abducted by the local count. Maidens are regularly stolen from the area, locked in the castle and never seen again. The sister tries to get her sister out but no one is willing to help her because they are too scared of the repercussions. So she must resort to the magical herbs and potions that her mother taught her before she died. To aid her in her quest, she carries a magical amulet. But will it be enough to rescue her sister?
A very quick, enjoyable read. The author succeeds in not only bringing early 17th century Hungary to life, but the descriptions are vivid and detailed…all in less than three pages. Not many writers can give so much in writing so little.
This short story can be found in Murder Through the Ages: A Bumper Anthology of Historical Mysteries, ed. Maxim Jakubowski