I read this book about 7-Aug-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2006. This note was last modified Friday, 02-May-2014 23:19:40 PDT.
This is book 10 of the "Vlad Taltos" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Latest episode in the Vlad series. Picking up immediately after Issola (#2), we experience with Vlad an excellent meal in Valabar's. Where he's joined by a young Dzur studying to be a Lavode, who carries one of the 17 great weapons, and then by Mario. Hey, I said there were spoilers.
The meal is told in the prologue, and then in short sections at the start of each chapter. But it really is mostly about the meal in the chapter pieces.
Kragar is shown to be more important than we had previously thought—he's been Mario's contact person for about 90 years, i.e. since before Vlad was born. There have always been some questions about his position, seems to me; this helps resolve some of them in my mind. He's always been too good. There's still a question of why he worked for Vlad. He now appears to be friends with Aliera, and this may predate his association with Vlad, but he was working for Vlad before Vlad was friends with any of the Dragons.
Mario removes a troublesome sorceress for Vlad. We don't see it, but in the report afterwards, it sounds like he managed to be standing behind her as she emerged from a teleport. Yikes, no wonder he's got this reputation.
We also see a leather-worker who uses spells; Vlad's new boots adjust to his feet on their own, clearly magically. This appears to be normal, we just hadn't heard about it before (I don't remember Vlad getting new boots before). So, I wonder if the chefs at Valabar's use sorcery? They've been in Adrilankha forever, some or most are probably citizens and hence have a link to the Orb and hence have at least some capability to do sorcery. If it's a normal thing for top-level craftsmen to use it when it can help, they should, unless it's against their Eastern traditions somehow.
Vlad sees Cawti again, and offers his help in resolving her problem in South Adrilankha, and she accepts. And he does in fact resolve the problem. Along the way he controls who gets the top slot in the Jhereg Council, and has two face-to-face meetings with The Demon. This is the main plot of the book, and it's not boring.
Vlad's ongoing conflict with Verra continues. He actually manages to show up uninvited in her halls, carrying Godslayer. And he manages to leave alive, with her help on his project. He's pissed at her for messing with his memories. She says you can't retain memories of the Paths of the Dead in any fullness and stay sane; but there's clearly somewhat more to it than that.
Vlad finally finds out about his son. He's about to meet him at the very end of the book. He's probably going to head out and visit his grandfather. And he's clearly unhappy with staying out of his city and being on the run full time; he specifically wonders near the end how long he can stand it. So things are definitely not resolved but they're coming to a boil.