Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by Martha Wells
Here is the second volume containing the novellas and short stories written by Martha Wells to accompany her BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA. I really enjoyed the first volume, Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1. I liked the tight and focused nature of the novellas and short stories and thought they were actually, for that reason, better than the novels.
Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2 (2015) contains:
The Dead City — (RAKSURA story #0.3, published in 2017, takes place before The Cloud Roads.) Before Moon was found by Stone and taken to Indigo Court, he wandered the world on his own. This story takes place soon after he made an enemy of the Fell by defeating one of their rulers. He enters a groundling city and gets involved with a mystery going on there. This is another imaginative story full of weird species and strange magic. It also highlights, again, Moon’s plight before he found the Raksura.
“Mimesis” — (RAKSURA story #3.4, published in 2017, takes place three months after The Siren Depths.) Jade is on a mission when she realizes that one of her companions is missing. When she goes back to find him, he’s been caught by another one of Martha Wells’ exotic and gruesome creations and she must figure out how to save him. This story reminded me of something I’ve read by Robert Silverberg (always a good thing).
“Trading Lesson” — (RAKSURA story #3.5, published in 2017, takes place one month after “Mimesis.”) I loved this amusing little story about a group of traders who comes to Indigo Court. Knowing a lot more about the outside world than anyone else in the clan, Moon can’t help but try to advise his friends about their purchases. As a mother and teacher (married to an economist) who considers herself frugal, I sympathized with Moon’s struggle to impart some “trading lessons” to his friends.
“The Almost Last Voyage of the Wind-ship Escarpment” — (RAKSURA story #3.8, published in 2011.) This story is the only one that features unfamiliar characters in a different part of the Three Realms. A groundling captain named Jai and her crew have been hired to take a ransom payment to the pirates who kidnapped a ship. When they arrive at the rendezvous location, weird things begin to happen. Due to the relationship of one of the main characters to the man who hired them, this story tugs at the heartstrings, but you won’t be missing anything important for the RAKSURA series if you skip it.
The Dark Earth Below — (RAKSURA story #3.7, published in 2017, takes place a turn and a half after The Siren Depths.) It’s only a few days before Jade should be delivering her first clutch. Moon is an emotional mess and he’s trying to stay near home so he’ll be available when the babies arrive. But then the Kek (those herbivores who live under Indigo Cloud’s tree) get into some trouble and they need Raksuran help. I didn’t think the Kek part of this story was that great, but RAKSURA fans will not want to miss this one because the birth is such an important and emotional event.
I liked Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2 a little less than I liked Volume 1, but I’d still recommend this for fans who want to fill in some of the gaps in the RAKSURA books. You can skip “The Almost Last Voyage,” or not. Each of these stories gives depth and richness to Wells’ world.
I have been listening to the audiobook versions of the RAKSURA novels and story collections. They are produced by Audible Studios and narrated by Christopher Kipiniak. Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2 is 9.5 hours long.