by Sharon Tucker
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the first book in the series Ink and Bone. We also have a link to order Smoke and Iron from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.
When we last left our small group of scholars, soldiers, and students at the end of Ash and Quill (2017), the third in the Great Library series, we knew they had been betrayed. Some were in hiding, some had been captured and were on their way to prison, and all were compromised, let down by an ally. We quickly discover the identity of the traitor in the first few pages of the next book, Smoke and Iron (2018), and an audacious plan unfolds to put an end to the Library’s tyranny.
Each of the students has a pivotal role to play if this coup is to come off, as do Scholar Wolfe, Lt. Santi, and a few of the smuggling community, but it is not as if all were present at a strategic planning session. Key players are in the dark and others are playing roles that ill suit the overall purpose: to depose the Archivist and his creature, the Artifex Magnus both of whom are omnipotent and untouchable. Somehow they all must pull together using the ability unique to each of them to come at the challenge. Jess, our smuggler, must surely have an overarching plan that Dario will inevitably mock. Glain, our cadet, has the martial talent to make any strategy work. Thomas has to be creating a machine to give them an advantage. Khalila’s quiet authority will unite them, and she will articulate their purpose. Morgan has to be able to turn imprisonment in the Tower to our advantage.
It is through our obscurist Morgan that we readers at last gain entry to the Tower, home/prison of all the obscurists, without whom the alchemy of causing chosen texts to appear in the “blanks” all readers must utilize would not be possible. As we guessed, it is a view of privileged lives lived within strict confines. The obscurists seem content, but of course, this is not true. As with the rest of civilization, something vital is out of balance but change is hopeless—dissent is grounds for imprisonment if one is lucky and death if one is not. Yet the obscurists, where the power of the Library really lies, seem as docile as sheep—or are they? There is a secret almost forgotten by everyone, a person who could be a game changer, if found and roused. Can Morgan manage it?
So the question remains, can our dispersed group of rebels ever find some way to unite and restore free access to knowledge to the world? As Smoke and Iron begins, we learn how fragile the hope is that guides them all separately. If these components come together, Smoke and Iron will be the most challenging entry in the series to date. It worked for me, and I am seriously anticipating the next in the series.
You can find more fantasy reviews in out Fantasy and Fangs section.
To enter to win a copy of the first book in the series Ink and Bone, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Rachel Caine,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 15, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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