cover image The Lascar's Dagger

The Lascar's Dagger

Glenda Larke. Orbit, $15 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-316-39966-1

Magic, religion, and the spice trade combine in this intriguing series launch from fantasist Larke (the Stormlord trilogy). Saker Rampion, spy and cleric, is sent to the royal court as spiritual adviser to the future king. He stumbles across a religious conspiracy that threatens both his nation and his faith. When he is sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, only magic-wielding royal handmaiden Sorrel Redwing can save him. Plot twists that in other hands might feel predictable have a sense of solid inevitability. As the slow-burning plot unfolds, Larke's attention to detail and worldbuilding come into their own, and a complex web of political machinations is gradually revealed. Densely plotted without being convoluted, this is an absorbing political fantasy that bodes well for the rest of the series. (Mar.)