cover image A Dance of Blades

A Dance of Blades

David Dalglish. Orbit, $16 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-24249-3

The second Shadowdance epic fantasy novel chronicling the evolution of master thief and assassin Haern picks up five years after the events of A Dance of Cloaks, with Haern living on the streets of Veldaren and battling the thieves’ guilds that his father once led. Scheming merchant heiress Alyssa and kind priestess Delysia have also survived the bloodbath of the first volume and are coming into their own. In disarray and mutual weakness, the guilds and the wealthy ruling Trifect continue their suicidal war. Most members of the younger generation want peace, but they lack common motives and means, and as a result, their efforts only escalate the bloodshed. The pace is a shade less hectic than in the previous installment, the cavalcade of characters slightly thinned, yet Dalglish maintains the interest of his convoluted plot. Childish shock in the face of violence and betrayal has given way to mature fear: Haern and his peers can now foresee—and dread—the consequences of their actions, a more interesting development than any of the dagger fights. Agent: Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency. (Nov.)