The Gentlemen Bastards have been manipulated by their enemies into running an massive attempt at rigging an election. Their goal is to thwart thwart their political rivals through every underhanded means they can devise. The catch, their political opponent is up to the same task, has a head start, and was trained by their same mentor. Meanwhile, they need to find a way out from under the boot of the Bondsmagi who manipulated them into playing this dangerous political game.
Their opponent’s head start means that everything starts going wrong the moment they reach town. They spend the first couple weeks in town completely on the defensive only able to retaliate in the most childish ways. After a bit of back and forth they set up a parlay with their rival and old friend and discuss boundaries for their fight. Once established, the real political battle quickly ensued. And true to Scott’s writing style, we see our protagonists come up against some of the hardest challenges you could expect to face in such a bizarre political fight. Their wits are put to the ultimate test, as is their resolve.
This story deals a lot with the Bondsmagi, their society, history, and power. If you were intrigued by them in the first two books, this book will answer many questions and deliver many more. I found their society intriguing and the twists and turns in the story engaging. However, I found this story less interesting than the first two. Perhaps this has to do with the simple fact that corrupt politics are all too real right now. I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, I’m still sold on this series and looking forward to the next book, The Thorn of Emberlain. I’m disappointed that it’s not out yet, I can’t believe he thinks getting married, moving, and buying a house is more important than finishing up the next book. I mean, come on! We, the readers, need this series to be released on schedule!
All kidding aside, Scott’s writing style is so excellent and the story so engaging, that I really do wish the next book were out now and I could binge read it today. Instead, I have to wait until next year, which just makes me feel like I’m back in the 90’s watching t.v. on an old antenna driven system, where you have to wait a week in between cliff hangers. We’re in the 21st century, nobody does that anymore, we just wait for it to hit Netflix and watch it all in one weekend. Why can’t your books be the same way, Scott? To this end, I propose you release the rest of the series in 2018, cut down our waiting time between books by literally years, and let our imaginations run wild. I know this will be a pressing schedule for you, since you haven’t written any of those books yet, but sacrifices must be made for the good of the fans.
Overall, I give this book 3 stars. Worth reading, but pales a bit in comparison to his other two. I will note here, that my opinion on the overall score of this book has been challenged by my friends who have read it. They seem to think this is the best one in the series so far, but I retain that Red Seas Under Red Skies holds that title.
Up Next: War Psalms of the Prince of Peace by James E. Adams