A Stranger in Sorcererstown (The Stranger Trails Saga)

A Stranger in Sorcererstown (The Stranger Trails Saga)

by Jon Wander

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore

The Stranger Trails Saga: Medieval fantasy meets the wild west in a tale of might, magic, wits, wagers and hard choices in a hard land.

Book 1 blurb:

The ancient city-state of Sorcererstown, the world’s capital of magic where the most legendary wizards, warlocks, and royal mages learned their secret craft was nothing like what the Stranger expected it to be.

Not a sorcerer has drawn breath there in years, only sorceresses fill the Great Schools of Magic and the petty squabbling between them has grown into full-blown war with the money vaults, spellbooks and armories thrown open to call and empower the best mercenaries, cutthroats and killers from all corners of the map and blast anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the middle.

That middle is where the Stranger decides is the best place to ply his own unique set of skills in a daring plan to make pawns of the powers that be and reach an endgame opposed to all other factions in town.

But with the arcane arts being thrown around like sling stones, suspicions running high with everyone from the new hires to the headmistresses of the Great Schools and a looming threat of a supposedly unbeatable warrior on his way to the battleground of the once a great city-state it doesn’t take much for a wanderer’s plans to earn him nothing but an unmarked grave.

It’s all or nothing here in Sorcererstown and in this deadly game everyone is playing for keeps.

Let’s begin.

-

This summary is for the first book in a trilogy, all of which will be posted as one webnovel.

Cover courtesy of Fuyu Dust

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Jon Wander

Jon Wander

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
0.0 The Trail Back to Sorcererstown ago
1. The Welcoming Party ago
2. About Town ago
3. A Demonstration ago
4. Pay Negotiations ago
5. Resignation ago
6. The Second Bidder ago
7. An Uninvited Companion ago
8. The School of War ago
9. A Late Night Visit ago
10. A Planned Revelation ago
11. A New Offer ago
12. Stacking the Deck ago
13. Bodyguard ago
14. Blood Sacrifice ago
15. Bodyguard Again ago
16. The Calm Before a Storm ago
17. Guess Who? ago
18. Paradigm Shift ago
19. The Dragon ago
20. Reprieve ago
21. A Silent Castle ago
22. King’s Gambit ago
23. Showdown ago
24. The Calm After a Storm (End of Book 1) ago
2.0 Strangers in the Valley (Book 2 title and blurb) ago
2.1 New Locale ago
2.2 Treatment ago
2.3 A Local Tough ago
2.4 The Other Visitors ago
2.5 Negotiations ago
2.6 The Graveyard ago
2.7 Reporting Back ago
2.8 First Encounter ago
2.9 Fae Tale ago
2.10 Town Meeting ago
2.11 Battle Plans ago
2.12 Evening Riddles ago
2.13 Flag of Truce ago
2.14 Into the Woods ago
2.15 War Council ago
2.16 Treachery ago
2.17 Meeting and Parting ago
2.18 Alarm ago
2.19 Pitched Battle ago
2.20 Ashen Ones ago
2.21 Preparation and Prelude ago
2.22 A Game of Foxes ago
2.23 King Me ago
2.24 The Coming Spring (End of book 2) ago
3.0 A Stranger Cycle (Book 3 Title and Blurb) ago
3.1 End of Empire ago
3.2 Of Heresy and Flames ago
3.3 The Duke's Fortress ago
3.4 Phantoms and Follies ago
3.5 A Royal Welcome ago
3.6 A Greater Welcome ago
3.7 An Unforeseen Detour ago
3.8 Legends and Lineages ago
3.9 Witch Hunt ago
3.10 A Lord's Justice ago
3.11 A Stop Along the Trail ago
3.12 A Desert Greeting ago
3.13 The Bar ago
3.14 The Word on the Street ago
3.15 Ranch Lands ago
3.16 Canyon Crossroads ago
3.17 Prophet of the Eclipse ago
3.18 Bounty Killers ago
3.19 Memories and Meetings ago
3.20 Remember Me? ago
3.21 Resolution ago
3.22 Robin's Nest ago
3.23 The Lion's Tale ago
3.24 The Duel ago
3.25 Medicine and Meditation ago
3.26 An Almost Forgotten Tale ago
3.27 Revelation ago
3.28 Judgment Day ago
3.29 End of The Trail (FINAL chapter) ago
A request for direction from my readers ago
New, commisioned art and poll results ago

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Reviews
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C.R. Mcmahon
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Character

Magic, and the Wild west. What a wonderful combination.

Reviewed at: 2. About Town

The writing here is professional, and I was honestly a bit blown away by it. "The amount of blood I have spilt would float a fleet of ships" ...wow. If you are searching for a high tier, interesting, and wonderfully done story congradulations! This is it.

Normally I am not a fan of guns in a magical setting, but if I were to like it, this is how. Such flourish, and creativity used in writing these battle scenes. 

If you are looking for a magical story full of action, and an amazing setting please read this. 

 

Michael Duffy
Overall

The long and the short of it is; it's bloody good!

Reviewed at: 3.29 End of The Trail (FINAL chapter)

It's a great idea for a story, a fantasy western, with a lone cowboy standing up for what's right.
The fighting is well done and believable, the setting is cool, and the world in interesting.
The human interaction is also great, not only are the characters interesting, the interaction between said characters is phenomenal.

KoboldPatrol
Overall
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Grammar
Character

A Fistful of Gold Coins (but different sequels)

Reviewed at: 3.10 A Lord's Justice

(as of book 3, chapter 10)

*Wind howls, sun burns, harmonica music permeates the silence* In a run-down town in the Wild W–, er, a fantasy country, two groups of crimin–, er, sorceresses vie for supremacy. A silent and nameless stranger comes into town, demonstrating the deadliness of the mysterious contraptions he wears on his hips when he is attacked by some toughs. Then he secretly starts to play the two groups off against each other... 

Style: The story is written in third-person style by an omniscient narrator, usually following the nameless stranger's POV but often showing other people. The word choice and descriptions are done very well. The first book, while handling serious topics, is a bit on the lighter and comedic side. 

Starting at the end of the first book and increasing into the other books, an aura of oppressive mystery grows: Everything is shown in a careful, almost cautious way, with hints to the looming enigma of The Stranger's history, always implying that there is more behind the next corner and that the shadows are hiding more than should fit into them... BOO! AAARGH, my poor heart! Many of the mysteries are (deliberately!) never explained in order to keep the suspense. The story really is "show, don't tell", like it should be. 

Story: Well, the storyline of the first book is an adaptation of Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" or Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars". While keeping the major themes intact, the transformation to a fantasy world gives this version an interesting spin. The pacing is excellent, one long arc of suspense is woven through everything, turning and twisting but never stopping. Hints of a larger and even more mysterious plot are sprinkled into the narrative and connect the three books.

Books two and three have a different setting, but they also go "mysterious gunman fights against evil with mysterious magic". It would be spoilers to give details, but at least I can tell you that the author mixes in (European) legends about the supernatural, inhuman beings out there, the ones that made our ancestors stay at home with barricaded doors at the solstices and equinoxes and pray that the fire will burn until dawn. *shudder*

Grammar: Mostly good, but there are some spelling errors, comma misplacements or other technical errors per chapter. Enough to annoy me, but most readers probably wouldn't even notice. 

Characters: The mysterious, nameless, silent stranger is... inscrutable, unidentified and doesn't talk much. Only the readers learn more than that with time, because we can read his thoughts. He is very capable through unusual means that are unknown for most of the story. At the same time, he is weakened by a strange curse. His characterization, while leaving many questions unanswered, is excellent.
The side characters can be divided into distinct groups: some have a simplified personality and are just filling their roles, others are caricatures that serve as obstacles on the stranger's path, and the "main side characters" are fleshed out enough to be interesting but not overwhelmingly so.

All in all, this is an exciting tale in a style very different from the other stories on RoyalRoad.

RandomNobody
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

really good story about a nameless gunmage

Style: few run-on sentences, other than that pretty good

Grammar: very few mistakes, but still there

Story: MC kinda just goes into conflicts just because, the reason he supposedly throws himself into the fights doesn't really make sense 

Spoiler: Spoiler

 Character: MC is badass, Alyssa is good too

Xian
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A gritty western meets magical politics

Reviewed at: 11. A New Offer

Our main character is the only one in the story that fits the description of a Gun Slinger, however the style and feel of the book has all the trappings of a speghetti western, though hung on the backdrop of a world with powerful and arcane magic.  the blending of the two, works wonderfully and Jon does a great job of bringing the characters to life.  He is also skilled at slowing down the pace when needed, in order to show you the scene and paint the visuals in your mind.  Something that my own work could take a lesson from.

Sorcerertown is home to several different schools of magic and is considered to be the magical capital of the world.  This should mean that Sorcerertown would be prosperous, but instead the schools are at eachother's throats and the town has fallen to ruin as it's caught in the crossfire.  "No where else will you find a more retched hive of scum and villainy."  The stranger plays the role of an agent of chaos and maneuvers the powers that be to march to his own tune.

The only hit this story takes from me was a handful of typos and comma usage, but nothing that should disrupt your enjoyment or that couldn't be cleaned up via a professional editing pass.

George Haufman
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style: I felt like the style so far is pretty consistent. This is a major plus in my opinion. The pacing feels fairly good for the plot that's going here.

Grammar: grammar is at times distracting and needs a good editing pass to make the story feel better to read. 

Story: Gunmages, that's all you need to know! its cool, I love the concept you are going for here.

Character: I feel like the mc is fairly fun to read about. I like the way they interact with the other aspects of the story.

Thanks for the chapters!

JTaKeo
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

As of this moment, I'm still hooked on the story, as well as even re-reading it again. It's good, really good. A type of story that keeps you going just to learn more and wanting to find out what is next.

The characters are extremely likable, especially the main character. The fact that he isn't given an actual name in the beginning brings a sense of mystery and makes you want to learn of his origin. It is also awesome that's he is a freakin' badass, yet from the readers' POV we can see a hint of vulnerability to keep him human(?). It makes it all the more intriguing as you want to learn who, and even what, he really is.

Even the side characters are enjoyable, and I personally hope that as I keep reading, the said family won't get pulled into anything bad. Usually when I fear for side-characters because of the action of the main is when I considered them to be great, that the write has made me feel a connection for them, that I don't want anything bad to happen to them (oh god...please don't let anything bad happen to them ). 

Even the, I dare to say "antagonists", are very appealing and I loved the overarching ploy of the groups that hang over the setting, each chapter making want to see how the main character interacts with them. They each have a sense that they are part of something bigger and even as the main character is going against them, it makes me actually feel worry for both him and the rest of the characters how they would react and keeps a feel of suspense.

The story itself reminds me of something from an RPG and with the world building, it is a good sense of balance where it gives you details yet isn't in a way of exposition dump so it draws you in as you want to learn more. There is a large cloud looming over this small location and makes you wonder about the bigger picture, about the rest of the world and it is very exciting. The feel of magic-technology also brings a smile to my face since that is usually the genre I love. With great amount of descriptives and details in the writing, it really feels as if I could picture everything that is happening, as if I'm playing a video game or a movie and it's awesome.

I highly recommand anyone who loves character focused, fast pace action with a large feel scope of story and world building while also being kept at the edge of their seat while flipping through the pages a read. Even just the beginning chapter will absolutely pull you in.

BTI Penner
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The Man With No Name in Fallen Lands

Reviewed at: 5. Resignation

Style: clean and crisp. It conveys the fantastical elements of the fantasy world without being confusing.

Story: I loved the everyday, realistic needs that drive the plot forward in the grimdark setting.

Grammar: aside from the hyphens that should be em dashes, it's spotless. No complaints.

Character: the mystery surrounding the stranger Stranger is preserved by providing a sympathetic character, Selco, the merchant turned bandit for the most humane reasons.

Don't wait to give this book a read! You won't regret it!

zertzax
Overall

It started off a little slow but I got hooked on the Stranger. Keeps his secrets, reveals little of himself, but in the end the reader learns enough to want more.

He reluctantly saves some some, betrays many, and in the end, will ride off into the sunset with a trusty dog and a young lady at his side.

 

Gods help him, he just wanted to be alone. 😁

squorsh
Overall

Like a love letter to the dark tower

Reviewed at: 1. The Welcoming Party

This is one of the best stories I've read on this site. Great story, great characters, and a great ending. I'm not sure if it's intentional or not but this story is quite similar to Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which, if you haven't read those books, is a great compliment because those are some of the best books in the genre