The civil war that Digger helped start (in Starcrossed, BCCB 10/10) hasn’t yet reached the city of Gerse, where she has returned after her sojourn with a group of nobles, hoping to regain some semblance of her old life as a thief. She’s having trouble finding her feet, though, as the death of her boyfriend and partner, Tegen, has marked her as bad luck among her suspicious underworld friends. The nobles, however, know her worth as a devotee of Tiboran, the god of those who must lie for a living, and they arrange to embroil her in yet another of their intrigues. This time she is drawn into a murder investigation; the sweet, good-natured Durrel Decath, who saved her from the Greenmen on the night of Tegen’s death, has been accused of murdering his much older, ill-tempered wife. At first more than willing to help clear his name, she soon begins to wonder if her faith in him is misplaced, as the evidence she gathers becomes more and more confusing and seems in fact to point to his guilt. Digger’s feisty spirit and clever wit, limned as it is with a deep vein of grief and loneliness, render her an irresistible character as she navigates the social and spiritual eccentricities of her world. A subtle but extremely effective parsing of that world according to its various gods allows strange dealings between rich and poor, law-abiding and not, as Digger the thief, for instance, blends in as easily with the nobles as she does with other thieves and actually finds herself feeling guilty when she tells the truth.
Familiarity with the first book is absolutely essential for re-entering Digger’s life with its complicated connections and loyalties, but the re-immersion is every bit as engrossing and satisfying as the initial plunge and the breathtaking surprise ending will leave readers aching for the next installment. With its compelling and complex characters and political intrigues, this series will especially appeal to devotees of Turner’s Queen’s Thief series.