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A Dance of Mirrors by David Dalglish

A Dance of Mirrors by David Dalglish
Book Name: A Dance of Mirrors
Author: David Dalglish
Publisher(s): Orbit
Formatt: Paperback / Audiobook / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: December 3, 2013

A Dance of Blades was much the same as A Dance of Cloaks, in fact, as I mentioned, it wasn’t different enough, in my humble opinion, to warrant an entire book on its own. I wanted something new, something more to challenge Dalglish as an author and me as a reader. Can I say he delivered? Will I eat the very words I put on this site just one short month ago? Let’s find out.

One has conquered a city. The other covets an entire nation.

Haern is the King’s Watcher, protector against thieves and nobles who would fill the night with blood. Yet hundreds of miles away, an assassin known as the Wraith has begun slaughtering those in power, leaving the symbol of the Watcher in mockery. When Haern travels south to confront this copycat, he finds a city ruled by the corrupt, the greedy and the dangerous. Rioters fill the streets, and the threat of war hangs over everything. To forge peace, Haern must confront the deadly Wraith, a killer who would shape the kingdom’s future with the blade of his sword.

Man or God; what happens when the lines are blurred?

Once again Dalglish looks to tackle the big question, the one about identity. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose? This time it’s Haern questioning everything he’s done as a copycat killer is forcing him to examine his choices as he uses Haern’s mark as the Watcher while slaughtering innocents in a nearby city.

“Innocents” should come with its own pair of quotes, really. The population of Angelport could give those of Veldaren a run for their money. Corruption is the blood of the city. The Trifect have a family stationed here, the Merchant Lords (would-be, but just as successful, Trifect), and Lord Ingram Murband. They are all terrible in their own way but it is Lord Ingram who may take the crown for the worst of the lot.

The Trifect and the Merchant Lords care only about their coin and the trade to keep that coin coming in. It’s still a deplorable trait and they are not above sowing a bit of chaos to further their means, but it’s Ingram that is the worst of them. He lets one thing rule his thoughts when making decisions, his strict racist attitude toward the elves.

I’m coming to this series fresh, meaning I hadn’t read the eBooks when Dalglish self-published nor have I read the companion novels, which if I understand correctly, are set in the same world. So to spend two books in the depths of Veldaren with nary a sign of elf, dwarf, orc, or any other fantastical species, I can say I was surprised to see the pointy-eared fair folk in A Dance of Mirrors. And yes, we’re talking Tolkien elves here, beautiful, long-lived, pointy ears, and lives in a forest type deal.

The elves are central to the plot of book three, or rather the growing unease between the humans and elves. As the Wraith, Haern’s copycat, does everything in his power to bring war between the two races, Haern, Zusa, and Alyssa must work together to oppose him.

Yes, that’s right. Haern has teamed up with former enemy Alyssa Gemcroft and her shadow-assassin best friend Zusa. Following the rescue of Alyssa’s son in book two, the lady Trifect has found trust in the Watcher and asks him for his help.

When I reviewed A Dance of Blades, I lamented on how much everything felt the same and expressed a hope Dalglish would mix things up a bit for book three. Has he delivered? Yes. The world still has that thick layer of grime and heavy shadows that are needed for a book centered on an assassin, but it also delves into the politics of the world, and introducing elves while it does so.

I asked for something new and Dalglish threw a curveball. A Dance of Mirrors was a fun time and I’ve never been more excited to see what Dalglish has in store for us next.


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