Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree (Legends & Lattes #0.5)

Viv's career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam's Ravens isn't going as planned.

Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she's packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she'll never be able to return to it.

What's a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?

Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn't possibly imagine.

Still, adventure isn't all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 352 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s).

BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST is a slightly bloodier (but still very cozy) prequel to LEGENDS & LATTES. Viv is an orc warrior, wounded in the leg just as she's starting out her career with Rackam's Ravens. She spends the summer recuperating from an injury in a seaside town named Murk, helping a local bookseller turn her shop around, and getting to know the cute dwarven baker down the street. It’s a story about finding joy and meaning and impermanence, appreciating something good even when you know it won’t last forever.

BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST is an unabashed love letter to books, bookshops, and booksellers helping the local bookseller get out of a rut and fix up her store. Viv is recuperating from a leg injury which sidelines her while the Ravens go after a necromancer. She hates being left out of the action and forced to slow down, but starts to feel the benefits as her forced rest continues, discovering an interest in reading.

As a prequel, BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST helps to explain why Viv would want to start a coffee shop when her adventuring is done, something Legends & Lattes didn’t dwell on in any detail because that wasn't the focus of its story. This can be read before, after, or completely separately from the first book, though the epilogue takes place after Legends & Lattes and contains minor spoilers. 

Moderate CW for cursing, alcohol, confinement, violence, blood, injury detail, medical content, medical trauma, war, death.

Minor CW for ableism, racism, animal cruelty, slavery.

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A black-haired Orc leans against the counter of a bookshop, next to an orange and white ratkin and a small owldog


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