The beautiful, enigmatic assassin Pyrre, a supporting character in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne (The Last Mortal Bond, 2016, etc.), takes center stage in this prequel to the series.
Pyrre is an acolyte of Ananshael, the god of death. To become full priestess, she must kill seven specific types of people, one of whom must be someone “who made [her] mind and body sing with love.” Trouble is, Pyrre’s never been in love. Her quandary brings her to the conquered city of Dombâng, place of her birth and her desperate, miserable childhood. She hopes that her former lover Ruc Lan Lac, now the commander of the military police known as the Greenshirts, is someone she can truly love and then kill, in accordance with her Trial. But to catch his attention, she'll have to start a revolution. Falling in love isn't easy for Pyrre, but stirring up Dombâng's unrest is surprisingly so. Insurrection is always close to the surface of the barely pacified city, where hidden priests and secret worshippers seek to rouse the Three, the original, deadly gods of the delta who thrive upon blood and sacrifice and who may not be quite as mythical as many think. Pyrre, with her unusual attitude toward life and death, was always one of the most colorful and confusing characters in the original series, and it’s both enjoyable and illuminating to observe the development of her personality as the bodies pile higher.
Lacking the grand heft of the trilogy, this is a pleasantly grim and emotionally complex divertissement that will give pleasure to fans and tie up some loose ends—and can also be an accessible entree for new readers, who will undoubtedly go on to consume the rest of the series.