Mike Mason’s Potentia is a new short story from a new name, at least as a Black Library author. Billed as ‘an Inquisition short story’ it’s essentially a micro short focusing on an unequal exchange between two men in a jail cell. A murderer and an Inquisitorial interrogator, the power is nominally in the hands of the interrogator, except that the murderer – who turned himself in of his own volition – appears to know more than he’s letting on. The question is, what prompted him to hand himself over?
Short, simple and somewhat inevitable, this is nonetheless an enjoyable story that gets nicely to the heart of what the Inquisition is. It’s interesting to see an interrogator in action (literally) as opposed to the usual Inquisitors, giving Mason the opportunity to show a side to the Inquisition that we don’t often see – ambition. There’s no room to dig into who the unnamed interrogator is, but it’s clear that he’s not exactly an altruist. The simple device of two men in an interrogation poses questions of who’s in control, what each man’s motivation is, and whether one is really much different to the other. It’s not subtle, but it’s effective.