Windup entry to Reiman’s trilogy, begun with Wind From a Foreign Sky (1996) and continued with A Tremor in the Bitter Earth (1998). Tielmark’s patron goddesses, the Great Twins, guaranteed Prince Clarin his land’s independence from the Bissanty Empire if Tielmark’s royalty married only commoners. The trilogy features twin sisters, the huntress and Glamour witch Gaultry Blas, and the equally magical but headstrong Mervion. In Tremor, the Bissanty Empire again threatens Tielmark, while Gaultry captures the young assassin Tullier, bent on killing Prince Benet. Tullier’s trust in Gaultry’s mercy and conscience leads him to help her track down those behind the attempted murder. Now, the Bissanty Empire yet again threatens Tielmark and its orphan prince, Gaultry’s ward. At the marriage of the Princess Corinne, the Great Goddesses, flashing eyed and judging, manifest themselves incarnate at the altar. A spell to keep the wedding safe from Bissanty traitors is made by Tielmark’s Common Brood, or seven-member witches’ coven, while the goddesses accept the Tielmaran God-pledge made every 50 years. But some time ago the coven had failed its oath to the goddesses, and the witches may now pay with their lives—and their descendants’ lives—if the oath is not fulfilled. Gaultry joins the Common Brood at court to help deflect forever the Bissanty’s recurring demands. But the Brood-pledge is bound by the prophecy of the late Lousielle, founder of the Brood: The path of the Prince of Tielmark will run red with the blood of the Common Brood.
As long story strands weave together, stronger by far than its predecessors.