“This is a writer who I think is under-appreciated by fans of fantasy. This is the sixth book in a series that is set in the kingdom of Skala. The two main characters are Lord Seregil, who is an elf-like character from a far off land, and his partner Alec, a low-born from the far west. The war between Skala and its northern neighber Plenimar has continued.
The tide is turning as Queen Phoria and her sister Klia are leading the Skalans deep into Plenimarian territory. The war started when Plenimar initially invaded Skala with the support of its zombie like soldiers controlled by necromancers. Things become more complex as Alex and Seregil learn that two factions seem to be striving to define who would rule the kingdom. Many are ready for Phoria to go, thinking the war should have ended with the Plenamarians were repelled from Skala. The ongoing war is a waste of lives. Others are concerned that her daughter Elani, who is untested in battle and leadership, would follow her to the throne. They think it would be better to put Klian in the Queen's place.
As all of this is happening, I mysterious sleeping illness seems to be striking the poorer sections of Rhiminee, the Skalan capital. People seem to fall in a waking coma and die just days later from starvation. No one seems to know the cause. There is no clear injury or sense of infection transmission, yet the condition seems to spread randomly, reaching even into some of the highest homes in the land as things progress. There are serious questions whether either situation poses a greater danger than the war being fought in the background of the story.
A new theatrical troupe from the far north has arrived, capturing the attention of anyone who is anyone. A pair of cousins runs the theatre, and they definitely seem to be being pulled into all of the political/family intrigues and gossip. They are definitely open to the possibility of sponsorship by the city's wealthy, but their seems to be a question about what they want in return.
This one was a little slower than some of the earlier books in the series. I love the fact that this series has a gay couple as the primary protagonists. It creates an interesting dynamic. It is done in a way that pretty much presents them as is, without making a big deal about their relationship. Everyone just views them as a couple just like any other.”