Michael Cobley. The Maker’s Mark. (Conflicts)

A young man is fortunate enough to find an alien creature which can create exact copies of items which other species desire, and in reaping the financial benefits thereof is similarly lucky to be confronted by an assassin who fails to carry out the most basic Assassin’s 101 rule (kill them straight away, don’t chat). The protagonist is a cardboard character who we don’t engage with, an entire city and it’s innocent inhabitants is destroyed as an aside, the alien turns out to be more than it appears (without any hints prior to that point) and the ending is fairly juvenile. The story doesn’t ask anything of the reader other than to keep turning the pages. Even that was a chore!

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