Queen of the Night Guild
She has lost everything.
The story opens as Iliana stares at the burnt-out husk of what once was her house. Around that smolder the cinders of a whole market. Nothing left of her family. Nor the life she was supposed to escape into. The one she has been working years to build, far from the Night Guild.
Nothing but a half-melted figure of a Hawk she had given the son she has just lost.
Anger. Greif. Despair. These churn inside Iliana of House Hawk.
But knowing her as well as we do, having watched her survive her brutal childhood, pull off one audacious mission after another, we know this won’t last.
At least not the despair.
Moving quickly into action, Iliana feeds on her anger and grief. She has nothing more to lose. Revenge has become the only thing she has left.
Then, things get worse.
The Night Guild, where she has gone for help after discovering who set the fire, finds itself under attack. The Bloody Hand has invaded the Guild and sparing no one who resists.
While helping Master Gold escape, Iliana finds herself poisoned and accused of murdering him. She is sentenced to death and locked in a prison cell to wait for execution.
Her plans to liberate the Night Guild and revenge not only the family she has lost, but all of her fallen comrades fade as she sits in the prison cell. Surrounded by enemies, stripped of all her tools, she knows that even if she were to somehow escape, she was utterly alone. A pariah. And even she cannot take on the whole Bloody Hand, along with the Night Guild, and all of the Duke’s men.
Then unlikely help arrives. Soon, impossible are alliances made. Ever greater and more painful sacrifices are demanded. Not only of her but all who help her.
Hundreds of pages of groundwork have been laid for a sequence of revelations and unexpected shifts that unfold as naturally as they are unexpected. Many feel deliciously well deserved. Others expose the cruelty of irony joining into the mayhem.
And don’t stop before listening to the epilogue. A last surprise lies in wait for all who listen to the very last words of this tale.
All The Hours Spent With Her
The hours spend with Iliana and fellows again come alive through the narration of Rebecca McKernan. The voices of many characters have become familiar. I felt a tad sorry they would be gone, now that their stories are told.
Overall, this book brings a fitting end to the life story of the Queen of the Night Guild—Iliana of House Hawk. Hers was grimdark fantasy thief adventure. But it leaves nihilism outside for someone else to pick up and use for their story. For this child sold into service to cover her father’s debts didn’t succumb. She thrived. As you wanted her to.
Well told and Well Earned
In addition to being well-told tales, the first two books lay all the in-depth groundwork for a well-earned series of unexpected twists and discoveries. Changes that keep shifting the ground under Iliana’s feet. Throughout the final book, a world that’s never quite what she’d grown to believe it repeatedly forces her to adapt—all to great effect.
Backstory that’s more than decoration
And if you like stories with deep back story that is more than decoration, you should take a look at Walking the Darkmaker’s Way. A prequel to the trilogy the Book of Visions, this novella is work in progress, the first volume is being edited. It is expected before the end of the year. For more information, go here Walking the Darkmaker’s Way.