Prequel to the first book, showing Vlad’s beginnings. I continue to be super into the series, and i already know I’ll have to re-read it in the end to catch all the connections, the politics, the relationships. Also we see Vlad and Cawti get together here, which, man. All the love.
Other than that: The phrasing, the matter-of-fact-ness, the honesty about tensions and things needing time and sheer terror before and after the fact. The friendship. The accounting. Man, I love it. And the relationship stuff is actually sweet, in the sense that Cawti has principles and won’t back down just because Vlad is a bit of an idiot sometimes, and is generally cooler than he is without being a manic pixie dream girl. I love this whole book.
This book is part of the 2022 Backlog Incident.
Beware: full spoilers! Also probably incomplete and possibly incomprehensible.
A prequel to Jhereg, this is where Vlad meets his wife. Vlad has had his area of criminal influence for just half a year, when a gang war with Laris breaks out. It’s all politics and accounting (of course, Vlad has a bookkeeper, he’s not incompetent): how do you win a war when you stop making money and you have all of six enforcers on your payroll?
Vlad goes to Morrolan to complain about his money woes and gets a loan (and we get a tantalising look at how the two met!). Everbody is trying to help, in fact: Sethra (just as underhanded as Morrolan, as they can’t be officially involved), and of course Kiera. However, their escalating war brings the (young, Phoenix, ending the Interregnum 200 years ago) Empress down on them.
Anyway, Cawti, one in a team of assassins, fails to kill Vlad, so they make out. Ring the wedding bells. Turns out her partner is a Dragon (and apparently Kragar was one, too, before being expelled!). Dragons are the ones mostly staffing the guard. Also, fun fact, but everybody can talk to the Empress (who is in the Link). It’s just … if she feels that you wasted her time, she’ll destroy you. Vlad first dies and has to be revived, then is beat up really badly, and generally doesn’t have a great time.
Aliera is currently in line to be Empress when the throne changes to the Dragons, and apparently the real heir should be Cawti’s partner, Norathar, who didn’t know about this. They have to prove that Sethra the Younger did this (which incidentally will stop the biggest proponent of a big invasion to the East). Cawti has principles and stands up to Vlad, who confesses that he hates Dragaerans and is working his way up into position to have power, agency, and possibly a bit of revenge. They fall in love even more. Cawti fucking proposes.
Vlad figures out that Laris hasn’t been really trying to kill him, and that the Sorceress in Green is really Sethra the Younger. She’s tricked, trapped, all her plans are exposed (sneakily), the Dragons decide she can never be Emperor or Warlord, and also sent to a parallel dimension where she has to write a message in the sand thousands of times, taking years there, but only a week here. Sethra the Elder, man.
Vlad presents Cawti to his gramps. <3