In Blood Song, Anthony Ryan introduced readers to “a fascinating world of conflicting religions and the wars fought in the name of those faiths” (Library Journal). Now Ryan’s epic tale continues as Vaelin Al Sorna discovers that there is no escape from the call of destiny…
“The blood-song rose with an unexpected tune, a warm hum mingling recognition with an impression of safety. He had a sense it was welcoming him home.”
Vaelin Al Sorna, warrior of the Sixth Order, called Darkblade, called Hope Killer. The greatest warrior of his day, and witness to the greatest defeat of his nation: King Janus’s vision of a Greater Unified Realm drowned in the blood of brave men fighting for a cause Vaelin alone knows was forged from a lie. Sick at heart, he comes home, determined to kill no more. Named Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches by King Janus’s grateful heir, he can perhaps find peace in a colder, more remote land far from the intrigues of a troubled Realm.
But those gifted with the blood-song are never destined to live a quiet life. Many died in King Janus’s wars, but many survived, and Vaelin is a target, not just for those seeking revenge but for those who know what he can do. The Faith has been sundered, and many have no doubt who their leader should be. The new King is weak, but his sister is strong. The blood-song is powerful, rich in warning and guidance in times of trouble, but is only a fraction of the power available to others who understand more of its mysteries. Something moves against the Realm, something that commands mighty forces, and Vaelin will find to his great regret that when faced with annihilation, even the most reluctant hand must eventually draw a sword.
Ryan draws readers deeper into a dangerous landscape of warring religions, political ambitions, and diverse cultures in the second Raven's Shadow grimdark fantasy (following Blood Song). Vaelin Al Sorna, aka Darkblade, led forces in a bloody war that failed to fulfill King Janus's dream of uniting Asreal and the rival Volarian Empire. Now Vaelin wants nothing further to do with anyone involved. Unfortunately, his plan to peacefully retire as Tower Lord of the remote Northern Reaches is thwarted by schemers on all sides who want to use him and his blood-song power for their own purposes. Dividing the story among several characters, Ryan deftly reveals a chaotic land splintered by ambition and uncertainty. With a twisting, multi-layered plot knitted from complex intrigues and constantly shifting alliances, Ryan builds masterfully from Blood Song, tying up enough loose ends to satisfy while leaving plenty to create suspense for the next installment. The Gentleman Jewel ThiefJessica PetersonBerkley Sensation, mass market (336p) Peterson's debut is an entertaining Regency romp where witty banter and passionate tempers collide. Violet Rutledge lives a stable life, caring for her ailing father and handling the family's finances, but she yearns for adventure. At a lavish affair in the home of Mr. Hope, her family's banker, Violet shows off his most recent acquisition, the French Blue (also known as the Hope Diamond). Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, decides that both woman and jewel should be his. After Violet is ambushed and the jewel is stolen, she vows to get it back, and soon deduces that Harclay is behind the whole matter. An entertaining game of cat and mouse ensues. Violet is a breath of fresh air spirited, sassy, and not too ladylike. Harclay is also a surprise; underneath the rogue exterior lies the heart of a true romantic. The two make a very strong pair in this charming caper.