Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Creatures of Light (Creatures of Light #3), by Emily B. Martin

Harper Voyager, ISBN 9780062688835, January 2018

Queen Gemma of Alcoro is sitting in prison a the start of this book--a prison for the high-born, discreetly known as The Retreat, but a prison nonetheless. This trilogy has been a story of a clash of cultures and kingdoms, and Gemma's choices in the midst of larger conflicts in the previous  books have branded her a traitor. She's awaiting trial and sentencing. There's no chance of changing the verdict, she's concluded, but she hopes she can at least make her case to her husband, King Celeno, and a few councilors, that peace, not war with their neighbors, will be better for Alcoro. She's convinced that the Prophecy Alcoro uses to guide its policies is being used badly.

And then a stranger works her way into The Retreat, and smuggles Gemma out.

Except the woman isn't a stranger, not really, and she has stunning information that might be a means to change Alcoro's course, and prevent war. If she can make first Celeno, and then their neighbors, to accept what they've found and move in a new direction.

There are, of course, a lot more opportunities for Gemma to get killed than to succeed, and she's about to discover just how much treachery and deceit there is in Alcoro.

This is a book that just hooked me immediately. It's a fantasy world where the countries and the cultures make sense given their circumstances, and stated and implied history. The characters have complex, interesting identities and relationships.

Oh, and Gemma is a biologist, and Celeno is an astronomer, both a bit frustrated at having had to abandon their research when the old king, Celeno's father, died. Another character is attempting to invent cultural history as an academic discipline. Geologists play an important off-stage role.

People do research, sufficiently documented facts can overturn past orthodoxy, and I am in love.

Seriously. Read this books and its predecessors.

Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via Edelweiss.