Gritty sequel to Lake's steampunk-fantasy Green (2009), wherein the eponymous hero, sold as a child, trained as a courtesan and schooled as an assassin, killed one god and gave birth to another.
No-nonsense first person narrator Green returns to the city Copper Downs where the Interim Council have need of her skills. Ambassadors from the powerful Bittern Court, in Green's homeland, have arrived but what they want isn't clear except for one thing—they intend to take Green back with them. Green, six months pregnant and less nimble than she was, demands to know why Mother Vajpai, like Green an assassin and dedicated to the Lily Goddess, has allied herself with the scheming, vicious Surali. Too, the non-human, cat-like pardines are threatening war over their missing sacred jewels, the Eyes of the Hills. Seeking allies against Blackblood, the God of Pain, who claims the son she will bear—even though Green is sure the baby is a girl—Green becomes friendly with a couple of wandering priests, Osi and Iso, only to discover that they have a deadly agenda and vastly greater powers than anyone suspects. Even the god she gave birth to, Endurance, is mute, his powers remain unknown and his followers are pacifists. What tends to undermines the vigorous plotting is an annoying older version of Green, who hangs over young Green's shoulder, pointing out her every mistake. And only the most ardent devotees of fictional religion won't skip the frequent religious digressions. Overall, Green's far from appealing, but Lake obliges us to admire her courage and determination.
There’s enough going on to win over the skeptics and keep series fans coming back for more.