Mari, Nik, and the mixed (Earth Walker/Companion) Pack’s journey from Death, is interspersed with a new character’s narrative.
Three years ago, River, daughter of the leader of Herd Magenti (one of the five great Herds dwelling on the plains of the Wind Riders) attended a Rendezvous, the ceremony where the herds’ young can be Chosen and one can become a Wind Rider, gaining a bonded horse companion. Casting a shadow is the return of River’s childhood best friend, Clayton, whose feelings she doesn’t reciprocate (she’s asexual in a sexually-liberated culture). Her storyline follows her path to leadership, as she navigates politics and faces treachery. Strong, compassionate River’s scenes—despite temporal and spatial distance—compel readers with equine action and foreshadowing of the main narrative. Other storylines overlap with The Sun Warrior (2017), with the revived God of Death covetously spying Mari’s power during the Pack’s escape. While the Pack (with Dove and Lily) braves adversity while fleeing Death, romances bloom (including a lovely depiction of supporting a rape survivor in reclaiming her power and intimacy) and the openly-discussed ideal of inclusion yields results. Finally, Tribe Storyteller Ralina attempts to save her people, though her cunning brings her uncomfortably close to her enemy. Unfortunately, the story contains tired stereotypical tropes around Native Americans as well as blindness. Characters have a variety of skin tones.
Expert world-expanding storyline-juggling raises the stakes while building up to the series’ climax. (Fantasy. 14-adult)