But when Shamera returns from one such excursion to find the old man under attack by an invisible enemy and fails to save him, Sham is determined to avenge his death. Lord Kerim, the Reeve of Southwood (the new regime's ruler), is also on the lookout for the killer. But the Cybellian conquerors do not really believe in magic, despite their fear of it. When Sham agrees to come to the castle to hunt down the killer, disguised as the Reeve's mistress, the last thing she expects is to actually like the man. But it seems the enemy likes him, too, and he is its next target. She has a sneaking suspicion their enemy is a demon, but what Cybellian would ever believe something as "far fetched" as that? Sham enters into a world of political intrigue, rivalries and forbidden magic as she searches for a way to defeat an invisible foe.
Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series has become one of my favorite series, so I thought I'd check out her previously published work. This book is actually the third book in the Sainim series - but it's a standalone novel, the only one in the series my library has right now. The cover of the book pictured above is the new, updated cover for a re-release of these older books, so I'm hopeful my library will be getting the others as they are republished.
While this novel had many almost stereotypical trappings of the high fantasy novel (the thief with a good heart, the woman who can disguise herself as a boy yet is ravishing when she dons a dress, etc.), I never felt as though I were reading a rehash of overused material. Sham always shone through as a believable character, and the book was never in danger of becoming clichéd or predictable. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the rest of Briggs' earlier novels.
This is my first read for the Once Upon a Time II Challenge, hosted by Karl at Stainless Steel Droppings. You can check out the reviews of the many other book bloggers who are participating in the challenge here.
Books in the Sianim series:
3. Steal the Dragon
When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs (Ace reissue edition, 1998)
Other blog reviews:
The Liorn's Den