cover image The Bird of the River

The Bird of the River

Kage Baker, Tor, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2296-8

Fans mourning Baker’s death earlier this year will be comforted by this gentle conclusion to 2009’s The House of the Stag and 2010’s The Anvil of the World. Teen Elissa is left orphaned and guilt-ridden when her addict mother dies in a diving accident. She supports herself and her younger half-brother by odd-jobbing on a huge river barge, visiting colorful towns on their way upstream. As Elissa gradually becomes invaluable to the Bird’s crew by spotting dangerous river snags, she also learns to see through human subterfuge while accompanying Krelan, lesser son of an assassin family, who’s investigating the murder of one of his family’s wealthy clients. Satisfyingly exotic local color, a boatload of convincing characters with a captain touched by the supernatural, and a realistic treatment of young love make this an unusually sensitive growing-up tale. (July)