The stakes are rising and the tone is darkening in the third title of this quartet, the science-fictional underpinnings of which are becoming more prominent.
Scholar Raffi and Galen, his Master, are again risking their lives on business of the Order. This time they are exorcising a malevolent spirit, which prompts an even more perilous task: rescuing a captive Relic Master from the gallows of the Watch. But overshadowing their mission is the accelerating deterioration of the wider world of Anara; the Unfinished Lands are spreading, seasons are out of joint and devastating storms leave ruin and death in their wake. Only the forgotten Coronet of the Makers offers any hope—but even if Raffi and his friends could find it, they don't know how to use it! While still evoking standard fantasy tropes, this volume falls more into the genre of space opera than its predecessors. The secrets of the catlike Sekoi, native to the planet, are fundamental to revealing the location and purpose of the Coronet, and hints accumulate that some tragic catastrophe ending the Makers' mission lies behind all Anara's current woes. The climactic integration of visionary mysticism and gee-whiz gadgetry, rendered bittersweet by all-too-human failures, leads directly to a cliffhanger ending.
Anyone who has kept up with the story will be on tenterhooks for the concluding volume. (Science fiction. 11-16)