An Import of Intrigue

Marshall Ryan Maresca. DAW, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1173-2
In Maresca’s fine second Maradaine Constabulary novel (following A Murder of Mages), a foreign dignitary is found murdered in the fantasy city of Maradaine, an event with potentially explosive repercussions. Constabulary inspectors Satrine Rainey and Minox Welling are used to getting assigned to “the strange ones,” the cases no one else wants. This one is a dramatic death in the Little East, a Maradaine neighborhood brimming with immigrants from several nations who distrust one another only slightly less than they distrust Maradaine natives. The dead man, a Fuergan noble, was found on Druth soil, in a location used by Tsouljans, marked with symbols from another culture, and stabbed with a blade from yet another; these presumably staged complications make almost everyone a potential suspect, and the chances of an international misunderstanding are dangerously high. Maresca offers something beyond the usual high fantasy fare, with a wealth of unique and well-rounded characters, a vivid setting, and complicatedly intertwined social issues that feel especially timely. Fantasy fans who like to mix magic and murder will enjoy this one. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 11/01/2016
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