A Crown of Thorns

by Mary Goodden profile and Failbetter Games

Episode 78 of Fallen London Exceptional Stories

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A character study of two men: a servant and a prince, December 11, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This is an exceptional story, a sizable 'bonus' story provided for those who pay for Fallen London.

This one deals with the devils, a faction in Fallen London that is quite distinct from devils as typically portrayed. This group is a little out of sync with the rest of the world (generally having fashions from twenty years in the future), and are very interested in people's souls but also in creating and altering the laws of reality in bizarre ways.

Some Londoners reacted negatively to the presence of the devils and fought a disastrous war with them. The game has frequently referenced this war and its horrifying outcomes (through different stories involving Bishops and more recently with the Great Hellbound Railway, especially Moulin), but hasn't dedicated many stories to detailed events of the war.

In this story, you meet a manservant of a prince, a servant who fought in the war and is now afflicted by having some body parts replaced with plants (thus, the cover picture of the story). This manservant works with the Bellicose Prince, a child of Queen Victoria who, like most the other children, was (strong spoilers for those who haven't seen royal family stories) (Spoiler - click to show)altered by the use of tainted red honey into a gross monster.(Spoiler - click to show)

This story takes a lot of twists and turns and really is an exploration of war, survivor's guilt, PTSD, and trauma. Like most great fantasy or horror, it uses an extraordinary situation to examine ordinary feelings in a new light.