A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
Smith (Sekret and Skandal) returns with another spy-centric novel, this one set in a richly imagined fantasy world where the citizens of the Barstadt Empire pray to a godlike Dreamer for protection, while those in the Land of the Iron Winds labor to restore the long-defeated Nightmare to glory and terror. Meek and fearful Livia, once a lowly tunneler, has risen in importance because of her ability to enter a person's dreams. Livia's rare skill called dreamstriding allows her to inhabit and control the bodies and minds of unsuspecting generals and traitors while they sleep, making her the ideal spy. Her lack of self-confidence in her abilities can grate, however, in addition to endangering Livia and her mission. Smith narrates exciting scenes of espionage via dreamstriding and showdowns against the forces of Nightmare, yet the narrative drags when Livia's self-doubts take center stage. A love triangle involving a boy of a higher station and one of questionable heritage unfolds amid Livia's attempts to fight off Nightmare and come into her own. Ages 12 up.