Eli Monpress is vain. He's cocky. And he's a thief.
But he's a thief who has just seen his bounty topped and he's not happy about it. The bounty topper, as it turns out, is his best friend, bodyguard, and master swordsman, Josef. Who has been keeping secrets from Eli. Apparently, he's the only prince of a rather feisty country and his mother (a formidable queen who's every bit as driven and stubborn as he is) wants him to come home and do his duty, which means throwing over personal ambitions like proving he's the greatest swordsman who ever lived.
Family drama aside, Eli and Josef have their hands full. The Spirit Court has been usurped by the Council of Thrones and someone calling herself the Immortal Empress is staging a massive invasion. But it's not just politics -- the Immortal Empress has a specific target in mind: Eli Monpress, the greatest thief in the world.
In the fourth adventure of the legendary and lovable con man Eli Monpress (following The Spirit Eater), when the latest bounty posters are posted, Eli is shocked to find he has a rival for his goal of having the largest bounty in the Council Kingdoms. How is it that his traveling companion, Josef, a mere swordsman, can be more wanted than the best thief in all of Zarin? Josef, it turns out, has been hiding a few details about himself, like the fact that he's a prince of the island of Osera. The bounty is actually a summons for the errant prince to head home, which he does with his girlfriend, Nico who is distressed to learn that Josef's mother has married him off in absentia and of course the irrepressible Eli. Aaron explores the heroes' backgrounds while sprinkling around a few hints about the world-spanning problems that presumably will be addressed more directly in the fifth and final book.
Needs to be in audiobook.
A nice addition to the series
I've purchased the physical copy of this book, but as there's no difference between versions I figured I'd post a review here as well, so people who love the series will pick it up.
If you've read the previous three books there's no reason not to pick this one up, it answers a few BIG questions, and asks almost as many. As usual the interaction between the characters is the big draw to this series, with plenty of action and humor spread about. There's also a short preview of the next book at the end, which reveals a good deal about Eli's past.
My only complaint is that it's just over all too soon, 500 pages just fly by, but really that's because you just don't want to put it down.
As with all great books, I am left with insatiable curiosity as to when the next in the series will emerge. I have thoroughly enjoyed this story, and have found the world you have created to be captivating and complete. I have been reading science fiction since my early teens so to find a new author whose stories can impress me, having grown up on the science fiction greats, has been a treasure.