Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.
Traitor’s Blade followed by #2: Knight’s Shadow.
In this latest tale, the few remaining Greatcoats (a band of king’s lawkeepers) are attempting to restore order to Tristia, which now being governed by Valiana, the Protector of the Realm, the young woman Falcio has adopted as his daughter. Meanwhile the land awaits the coronation of the fourteen-year-old Aline, heir to the throne. After all the horrors endured protecting Aline while pretenders battled to kill her and rid themselves of interfering Greatcoats, Falcio learns there is another, even more terrifying foe to face.
Someone is killing the Saints (mystical protectors of the people–there are saints for just about everything). Desperate pilgrims are swarming about. The church has gathered its own force of Knights and brought back the dreaded Inquisitors as well. Falcio and his crew have to find out who is behind this latest threat, while keeping themselves and the Protectress and princess alive–not to mention the woman Falcio loves has been elevated to sainthood and is now on the murderer’s hitlist.
Avoiding spoilers, things go from bad to worse for Falcio, the Greatcoats, and Tristia in general, but the dedication of the hero inspires the rest. Despite the seriousness and bleakness of the themes, the three buddies hold onto a shred of humor, which is what make this series such fun. The plotting is farfetched but this is fantasy, not realistic fiction. It’s meant to be a gripping page-turner and it succeeds. There is one more book planned in the series, and I look forward to seeing how the Greatcoats will ultimately prevail. Or not?