This is a fairly traditional fantasy novel, but of course, as I hoped and expected, it is character driven, with complex characters that I quickly came to care about. The main protagonist is Aralorn, who is a master of weapons and of disguise. She works for the kingdom's spymaster, who sends her on a mission in which she learns of an imminent threat to the kingdom's safety - only because of the nature of that threat, no one can believe her. She and Wolf - a mysterious creature she once saved from a pit trap - work together to neutralize the threat, but they are grievously outnumbered.
This is a solid traditional fantasy novel that would appeal to fans of Mercedes Lackey and Robin Hobb. I read When Demons Walk, the fourth book in this series, a few years ago, not realizing that it was part of a series. It is set in the same world, but features completely different characters, so I don't feel I missed out on anything by reading it out of order. I particularly enjoyed the introduction, in which Briggs discusses her writing in general as well as the experience of reworking this early novel.
Books in the Sianim series:
3. Steal the Dragon
4. When Demons Walk
Masques (#1 in the Sianim series) by Patricia Briggs (Ace, 1993; revised 2000)
Reviews of other books by Patricia Briggs:
Also reviewed at:
Janicu's Book Blog: "It reminds me of books about female heroines having adventures written by Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey that I read in my teens and still hold a fondness for today."
The Written World: "A lot of the foundations of her later work were there - strong heroine, romantic tension without being overtly romantic, interesting and memorable supporting characters and a story with a clear ending that also leaves an opening for future adventures."