Antiheroes Short Story Spotlight: The Astoundingly Mortal Peril of Denna Dorwen


In case you haven't heard, the members of the Phoenix Fiction Anthology have collaborated on an anthology of short stories, to be released on November 17. It's available for pre-order right now. The entries focus on the theme of antiheroes, and they're all amazing. Including mine.

What? I'm really happy with how it turned out. Stop judging me.

We're not here to talk about my story, though. Today, I want to tell you about Nate Philbrick's contribution to the collection: “The Astoundingly Mortal Peril of Denna Dorwen”.

I cannot stress highly enough how utterly delightful this story is. It's perfect. Read it.

… You're still here? What, you want to know more than that? Seriously? Can't I recommend a story without having to go into detail about why you should read it? Do you not trust me, or something? I'm very disappointed in you.

Okay, fine. Details. First off, here's the synopsis:

Two years ago, Denna Dorwen burned down Candlewick Spire, a trove of books and scrolls atop the elite university in the city of Galaratheas. An accident, of course, and unequivocally not her fault. Nevertheless, the pawn broker and part-time thief owes the city a hefty debt, and the Iron Gleaners are coming for her. Out of time and out of money, Denna needs every trick up her sleeve if she wants to outwit debt collectors, bounty hunters, and the terrors that lurk in dark tunnels beneath the city…


Nate Philbrick, one of the best indie authors of our time (and a friend of mine) has written an amazing fantasy series called The Broken City of Crows. I read it while it was on Wattpad. It's not there anymore, since he's in the process of editing it, but it should be available on Amazon in the not-too-distant future. This epic story is chock-full of terrific characters, but one of my very favorites is Denna Dorwen. I am going to marry this girl. Nate claims that this would be difficult to arrange, but I refuse to believe it. Love will find a way.

What makes Denna so fun is her steady stream of laugh-out-loud one liners, her unapologetic high opinion of herself, and her love for all things shiny and valuable. She's a perfect candidate for an antihero anthology, and this particular story is a brilliant example of how antiheroes should be written. Denna is consistently likable throughout the tale, but never heroic in the classical sense. She's out for herself from beginning to end, and yet you will still find yourself rooting for her as you read.

The writing itself is also stellar. Nate turns his magnificent style up to eleven here, making his prose sing with clever turns of phrase and beautiful touches of worldbuilding. I can't say too much about the plot without giving away important details—that's always the way with short story reviews. I can promise that you'll laugh. A lot. You'll also be a little freaked out. Denna has to face a particularly terrifying foe here, which, like all truly terrifying foes, gets a creepy nursery rhyme to announce its presence. My basic philosophy of life: when you hear a creepy nursery rhyme, run.

But don't run from this short story collection. You won't want to miss it. Pre-order Antiheroes: A Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology today!

Comments (1)

I’m finding it hard to believe that you and Nate don’t actually know each other in real life. You two really do have the best senses of humor, you both write great stories, amazing characters and continue to inspire your readers.
Hats of to you both!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: