By: Robert Jackson Bennett
Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic—the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience—have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.
Foundryside is a novel with an amazing story. It is set in a world where people use scrivings to influence reality and bend them to their will. Scrivings are complicated and are a rather primitive method for manipulating objects, the heirophants of the past had a powerful alphabet capable of even greater things. Now, the city of Tevanne is mostly controlled by merchant houses, powerful groups that have the most advanced technological advances in scrivings. The uncontrolled regions are the slums of Tevanne, known as the Commons.
Sancia is a gifted thief from the Commons, she gets gigs from merchant houses to steal from other houses. She is able to feel inanimate objects, which tell her about the whereabouts of other people as well as hidden paths in the building. Using this gift, she can slip through places unseen and steal many valuable goods. In this story, Sancia learns about the internal conflict between merchant houses and how one of the houses are in control of orientals, scrived tools used by heirophants. Throughout the story, Sancia learns about her abilities and realizes that it was intended for so much more.
The novel has an in-depth story where there are many twist and turns. The author reveals just enough information as the story goes on to keep the reader guessing. Every piece of information points us to another direction with even more questions. This keeps me on the edge and guessing what is going to happen next.
Another interesting part about this book is how relatable the story is even as a fantasy novel. As a ‘budget maker’ I relate to the common scrivers Gio and Claudia. As with my designs, their inventions are ‘field tested’ and adjusted afterwards. Using their limited knowledge and resources they come up with solutions and problems.