The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.
Betrayal, bloodshed, and political intrigue fuel Caine's engrossing fifth Great Library alternate history novel (after Smoke and Iron). The overthrow of the corrupt Archivist, former leader of the Great Library of Alexandria, has left a dangerous power vacuum and divided loyalties among library staff. While heavily armed fleets from various nations gather just outside Alexandria's harbor, plotting to gain power and influence, the Library's Scholars and guards face internal treachery and attacks from those who have secretly sided with foreign nations, while the ex-Archivist schemes to regain power. Caine's multi-threaded plot of uneven loyalties and hidden schemes is tense and tightly written. The broad cast of characters includes series hero Jess Brightwell, who's still reeling from the death of his twin brother; his discredited mentor, Scholar Christopher Wolfe; uneasy magic-wielder Morgan; and Scholar Dario Santiago, pulled in opposite directions by his royal Spanish blood and his loyalty to the Library. Their internal and external conflicts illuminate every level of Caine's compelling fantastical society. New readers as well as series fans will enjoy this taut adventure.