Maria V. Snyder
Mira, Feb 24 2015, $14.95
A shaky cold peace has held up for the most part for several years between non-magical Ixia and magical Sitia. Both adversarial sides know how quickly an incident could ignite the fire of war. Lovers Soulfinder Yelena the Sitian and Valek the Ixian assassin do what they can to keep the hostilities from turning into combat.
An unknown assassin shoots Yelena with a poison arrow. At the same time Valek is recalled back to Ixia to deal with a growing smuggling operation. Although Yelena struggles with the toxin threatening her magical skills and perhaps her life, and from enemies craving her death, she still goes it alone. Though they go back a long time since his days at the School Of Night And Shadow, Valek feels his leader the Ixian Commander no longer trusts him and may be duplicitous in the attack on his beloved.
Rotating three interrelated subplots (Yelena, Valek, and twins Janco and Ari) the first Poison Study fantasy (see Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study) in seven years is a gripping twisting novel filled with danger from adversaries and seemingly allies. Each segue is well-written, but for saga fans the Valek entry is the best as we learn of his days as a student. The return is a tremendous tale as our separated heroes revert back to their personal comfort zones of their roots.