Last year I reluctantly read The Painted Man. I say reluctantly because everyone told me that I had to read it but based on the tagline, ‘Sometimes, there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark,’ and the generic hooded figure on the cover it looked like another run of the mill fantasy story.

I could not have been more wrong. The Painted Man quickly became one of the best books I had read in a very long time, so much so that I had the sequel The Desert Spear on order before I had finished. I have since recommended it to everyone I know. So if you haven’t read it, go grab a copy and thank me later. The Great Bazaar is set during the events of The Painted Man.

For those of you who haven’t before read anything of Brett’s world of Thesa, each night as the sun goes down, ferocious demons rise up from ‘The Core’ with the seemingly sole purpose of causing panic and destruction. To stay safe the people of the world hide behind wards, which are powerful magical symbols that if placed correctly will form an impenetrable net to repel the demons. After a personal tragedy, our hero Arlen decides that he can no longer hide each night and so, he ventures out into the darkness to find a way to fight back.

Much like Brayan’s Gold, The Great Bazaar is one of Brett’s short novellas that serves to flesh out the story of Arlen’s adolescence as he grows from boy to hero. It is set at an unspecified point during The Painted Man and follows Arlen’s time as a messenger before he ventures to Anoch Sun.

It is a great stepping stone between the two main novels as not only does it show Arlen growing up but it also introduces the Krasian world and most importantly Abban the fat, opportunistic khaffit merchant, who features heavily in The Desert Spear.

Briefly, the story goes that Arlen is in the Krasian desert and is trying to make some money. Here he get’s pointed towards an old deserted settlement where Abban once saw some near priceless pottery that, if acquired, could make both men rather rich. Arlen is soon at the settlement and despite night falling, he easily slips past wind demons and quickly finds his mountain of treasure. It’s at this point that there’s a low growling sound from somewhere nearby and suddenly the sand around him begins to move, shifting in to something living with very sharp teeth.

The danger doesn’t end here though, as Arlen and his merchant friend soon discover that the demons might be the least of their worries as they embark on a mission that could hold the key to Arlen’s destiny and the end to the demon menace.

I loved this novella. In my opinion, it has the right levels of everything. If you’re a fan then you’ll love seeing more of the young Arlen and getting a better understanding of his relationship with Abban. If you’ve never read The Painted Man or The Desert Spear then there is still enough here for it to work as a stand-alone story. The pace of the tale, the excitement, characterisation and the intrigue is on par with the very best novellas and short stories out there. My only real complaint regarding The Great Bazaar is that there was not more of it.

It should be noted that for the purposes of this review I read the ebook version of The Great Bazaar, which comes, coupled with the short story Brayan’s Gold. I haven’t touched on this second story as Marc reviewed it recently. Click here to read his review.

It is also worth noting that the original run of The Great Bazaar was very limited and so hardcovers can be an expensive purchase. However, the ebook version is significantly cheaper; I picked mine up for a ripe and shiny £1.99.


By Paul Wiseall

One day, Paul Wiseall intends on growing up and getting a real job as a superhero or a dinosaur but for the moment, he is quite happy with this writing malarkey as it is far too much fun. He does have a degree in History but please don’t judge him too harshly as he really isn’t that boring. Honest. For those who are interested, he is a film buff, a chronic comic collector and inhales anything written by Neil Gaiman, China Mieville and Terry Pratchett. Paul tends to live in his head more than anywhere else but his tangible self can often be found frequenting coffee shops or living behind a laptop somewhere in Italy.

4 thoughts on “The Great Bazaar by Peter V. Brett”
  1. Yep, Huge fan of Peat’s Short Stories 🙂 Great Bazzar is brilliant – I think I remember reading a blog post where he mentions his love for this tale 🙂 Brayan’s Gold I think came as the result of a discussion with friends 🙂

  2. I read The Painted Man, and wow what a brilliant book, And just got a copy of The Desert Spear which came with The Great Bazaar and can’t wait to get started, such a great author his books really draw you in and make you feel for the characters. Definitely must read novels!

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