Title: Sethra Lavode
Author: Steven Brust
Series: Khaavren Romances #5 (The Viscount of Adrilankha #3)
Kana’s defeat at Dzur Mountain hasn’t slowed the Dragonlord much. But it has taught him to work more carefully around Zerika’s advantages. He’s laying the groundwork for a decisive blow. And Grita, together with the outcast Phoenix Illista, is determined to take revenge on Khaavren and his friends.
Meanwhile, Zerika struggles with the realities of running an Empire (at least, those pieces of the old one that now recognize her as Empress). Khaavren cannot make peace with his son’s determination to marry outside his House, and he’s bothered, as well, by some of the decisions his new Empress has seen fit to make. He’s loyal to the Empire, but he’s no longer sure about the Empress . . .
This book has a number of nods to various things that come up in the Vlad Taltos books, such as the Teckla on Tazendra’s estate, which help with the feeling of the books as a history to the events in those days. Morrolan continued to amuse me, especially when he finally gets his chance to get revenge (and how apologetic the book gets trying to describe his particular method of insult).
The climactic battle with Kana that’s been building finally comes to a head. I liked how such a complicated scheme met its undoing in a few simple, impossible to predict, very human interactions. Luck and chance play a small but vital role, as these are not pieces on a chessboard but people who will, occasionally, act out of character (or within character but to an unexpected degree).
Overall this is a good cap on the series, though I think the second book (and the bits with Morrolan in this one) is my favorite of the lot. I rate this book Recommended.