Title: The Shadowhand Covenant
Author: Brian Farrey
Series: The Vengekeep Prophecies #2
Jaxter Grimjinx has left the family business of thieving to be a botonist. Well, mostly. His current apprenticeship isn’t working out too well, and the most powerful group of thieves, the Shadowhands, want to talk to him for some reason. Jaxter tumbles into the middle of conspiracy he never asked for—mysterious robberies, vanishing thieves, and far too much adventure for someone who tried to opt out.
It’s been a while since I read the first book, but this one wasn’t at all hard to get back into. Where the first book has Jaxter as a rogue among rogues, this one has him playing more to his botanical studies, and his familiarity with thievery gives a good background to some of what’s going on.
I liked the bigger picture narrative, which draws back to encompass more of the bigger continent and government. (A little sad, though, that there is only one Aviard and he has about one sentence of page time…. but I have a huge weakness for winged beings that are NOT angels/demons.) And Jaxter is growing in his ability with plants, so he’s got some nice tricks up his sleeve, but he’s still maturing in his gifts.
The characters remain hysterical. Each chapter starts with a little witticism, like “Innocence is relative, but relatives are rarely innocent.” Jaxter spends much of the book in close contact with his once-friend, then-enemy, now-maybe-friend Maloch, and Jaxter’s habit of running off his mouth about Maloch in particular is good for a lot of laughter.
The story is quick, funny, and deepens the world nicely. I just picked up the third book and can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I rate this book Recommended.