A grandmotherly necromancer seeking resolution for her past with the help of her loyal entourage: an undead cat and a spectral knight.
A girl on the run from the Eternal Empire for the mysterious power she possesses.
When a chance encounter pulls them together, Gam Gam will do what it takes to protect Mina from the rogue sergeant hounding her–including raising the dead. As long as they’re dressed for the occasion.
When I think of cozy fantasy, I can’t say that zombies, skeletons, or the undead come to mind. Yet what could be more cozy than a kindly old grandma who knits hats, scarves, and wooly jumpers for the undead hordes that serve her? That is the premise for A Necromancer Called Gam Gam, a novella by Adam Holcombe. Gam Gam is an older lady who can knit, bake, kiss away boo boos, and who just happens to be a talented necromancer.
But the story begins with Mina, a young runaway who is being hunted for the mysterious powers she possesses and who feels guilt for her father’s death. Luckily for Mina, she runs straight into Gam Gam, who, being the kindly old lady she is, offers to hide Mina from the authorities chasing her and then help Mina get them off her back for good. Gam Gam’s offer to help, however, involves raising the dead. Yes, I’d still consider this a heartwarming tale!
You see, Gam Gam has a lot of charming moments and humour. The undead who are called to Gam Gam’s side are less servants and more a shambling group keen to help Gam Gam in return for a cute hat or pair of socks. Gam Gam cares for her undead, and they form an interesting group, from an honourable ghostly knight to a cute skeleton cat. There are a few descriptions of these poor dead souls that may make you think ‘oh, ew’ and that is mean of you, for even dead people deserve respect and love. This story thus has its dark moments, especially when the action ramps up. At times, I wasn’t sure if this story wanted to go for a darker or more charming tone, but I think the two balanced each other out. What I wasn’t expecting was how emotional this story turned out to be.
Greif and loss are heavy themes that are explored by both characters, as Holcombe doesn’t shy away from peeling back those painful layers. How else could you tell a story about the undead without exploring death itself? These characters are put through some tough physical and emotional times that only brings them together. I love the found family vibes, and that both Mina and Gam Gam have life lessons to learn from one another. And I’d certainly like to see more stories of kindly grandmas going on adventures with their magical abilities.
A heartwarming tale featuring the undead. Gam Gam is a short story packed with adventure and heart.