Title: The Heart of the City
Author: Garth Nix
In: To Hold the Bridge (Garth Nix)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Dead,’ remarked De Vitray.
The battle for the heart of the city begins. At its centre sits the donkey, the whore and the priest.
There is something fascinating about ancient Rome – after all, a lot of what we have today is based around this ancient civilisation. Which is probably why Nix decided to utilise this as a setting for this short story. The involvement of an Irishman and magic just made the tale all the more interesting to read.
It’s always nice to read a short story that has no obvious direction. After all, it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised once in a while. The Heart of the City did just that. Following MacNeacail through his adventures in trying to protect the city were intense, and vivid. The imagery created by the donkey, the whore and the priest just made it all the more odd and captivating.
Although I don’t delve into the intricacies of Christianity, it is rich with the mythos of angels and archangels. Nix harnessed this beautifully in The Heart of the City and at its conclusion, you sit there wondering if there is more to the tale – will the angels continue to protect the city? How has MacNeacail’s life changed. I love open ended conclusions to short stories, and this fit the bill perfectly.
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