17. “Steel’s edge” by Ilona Andrews


Publisher: Ace, 27 November 2012
Page count: 400 pages

This is the fourth and last part of the Edge series which I’ve been reading this autumn, and what a great book it is! This time around we meet Richard Mar, Kaldar’s brother and Cerise’s cousin. Richard is in many ways Kaldar’s total opposite: he is tactful, galant and quietly intelligent where Kaldar is a charming, conning rascal and womanizer. However, both are lethal sword men with a true mission in life: following the events in Bayou Moon, Kaldar became a spy for Adrianglia to revenge his family while Richard is going after the slave traders who ruined his niece Lark’s life.

Charlotte de Ney is an Adrianglian whose extraordinary magical talent for healing ensured that she was adopted into one of the premier families and given the very best medical training available. Rather than living the rest of her life rich and comfortably, however, Charlotte gives it all up when her husband annuls their marriage because she is barren. Charlotte is so devastated she almost murders her husband using her magical skills, but instead she flees into the Edge. Here she is taken in by Eleonore, Rose’s grand mother, and builds a new life for herself – simple, anonymous, but content.

Her happiness doesn’t last long, however: when we first meet Richard, he is mortally wounded and being chased through the Edge by a group of slave traders. After escaping he passes out from the blood loss and injuries but is found and brought to Charlotte who manages to save him. No sooner has Charlotte left to buy more blood for Richard, though, than the slavers reappear and kill Eleonore and kidnap Richard. Charlotte is consumed with guilt and sets out to kill the slavers and rescue Richard so no more people need suffer their terror. Soon, the two of them join forces, but can they survive long enough to unravel the slavers’ hierarchy from within before they are discovered?

I said it before, and I’ll repeat it here: this is the best book yet by Ilona Andrews, and I loved every page of it. It has an even more sinister and heartwrenching plot than Kaldar’s book but without the halfassed romance that dampened my opinion of that book; the romance is at least as satisfying as the relationship between Rose and Declan but with far more nuanced characters; and we meet again Jack and George in their most interesting roles to date. An awesome read!

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