Release Date: 03/09/10
The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. Cheerwell Maker finds herself crippled in ways no doctor can mend, haunted by ghosts of the past that she cannot appease, seeking for meaning in a city that no longer seems like home.
The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities who refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines. Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth, and now the assassins are coming and he finds his life and his loyalties under threat yet again.
Out past the desert of the Nem the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones...
Fan’s of this series by Adrian, of which I’m one, were shocked with the last title as the author demonstrated his ability to play for keeps and to be honest, it wasn’t pretty. So with past events still firmly in mind I picked up this title with tongs and oven mitts (hey I was taking no chances) and began reading in earnest.
What unfurls is an offering that is similar to the earlier books and with the freshness of new characters to play with, Adrian really did give me an offering that I couldn’t put down. For such a prolific author I’m surprised that not only the quality but also the twists and turns are maintained with each new offering. For such a relatively new author, Adrian is showing a masters hand with his prose, he’s got great twists and above all else an almost sickening talent with characters that make you care to read about their fates. A serious talent and one that deserves more recognition that he currently gets.