I’m not kidding. The novella Saint Nicole is an epic, yuletide adventure that would make a great Disney film. Just when you thought you knew what Santa Claus was all about, Jason D Wittman adds lineage, allies and enemies to the Saint Nicholas mythos:
For thirteen generations, the male descendants of Nicholas I have brought gifts to the children of the world, venturing forth once a year from the Northern Fortress in which the gifts are made, defying dark, terrifying forces to spread bounty and good will to the various people of the earth. But now, Nicholas XIII has fallen in battle to his ancient foe, the dragon Furnaceheart. Since Nicholas is keeper of the enchanted sword Yulestar, his death means that the spells protecting the Northern Fortress from discovery will fade, unless his heir returns to use Yulestar to rekindle them.
This epic fantasy novella centers around Saint Nicholas’ daughter, Nicole, who must take up her father’s magical sword, Yulestar, when he falls in battle.
The flying reindeer and toy-making elves that you know and love are here, but they are not alone. A myriad of mythical creatures come together in this story: Ice golem soldiers, faerie messengers, lords of thunder and lightning and Djinn, to name a few. We even get to visit the inner thoughts of the antagonist; a gigantic dragon named Furnaceheart, as he attempts to destroy the Northern Fortress, the enchanted land hidden at the North Pole.
I’m not fond of the cover. It looks flat, and isn’t as high-quality as the writing inside. Jason’s writing is clean and clever, with a broad and refreshing language palette. (When’s the last time you came across the word “ensorcelled”?) The story clips along at a good pace, making this a fast, one-sitting read that, as the cover says, “Merges The Lord of the Rings with The Night Before Christmas by way of 24.”
If you enjoy Saint Nicole, Jason expands the story very, very slightly with the very, very small publication Attack of the Mist-Hounds, which is literally about an inch square and only available in the real world. Catch Jason’s readings at Dreamhaven Books or other venues where he hands out these free microbooks.
Saint Nicole Links