Book 2 of the Traitor Spy Trilogy. Lorkin is trapped - by his own choice - in Sanctuary, Skellin is nowhere to be found despite Sonea and Cery's best efforts, and two novices are about to stumble upon a great secret the Guild wants nobody to learn.
Lorkin is doing his best to learn more about the Traitors and their ways, with the intention of one day proposing an alliance. However, he is still met with hostility by certain Traitor members - most particularly, Kalia, whom Lorkin is working under.
Meanwhile, a female novice, Lilia, is befriended by another novice called Naki. Over a short period of time, Naki introduces her to the city's new vice, roet, and under the influence of roet later introduces her to black magic. Lilia wakes up the next day with blood on her hands and finds herself accused of murdering Naki's father, though this charge is later dropped after a mind-read. However, she is expelled from the Guild and imprisoned in the Lookout tower, where she is manipulated by Lorandra (Skellin's mother) into escaping.
In Sachaka, Ambassador Dannyl is trying to find more ways of researching for his new book about a history of magic. Eventually he is taken to Duna where he learns from the tribesmen about magic stones, and he hopes this will eventually lead him to learning more about the storestone, an ancient object of great power.
Though I felt it was off to a bit of a slow start, what with introducing new settings and characters, the book quickly picked up in pace and intrigue. The Lilia and Naki storyline was most compelling, not least for what we eventually learn of Naki and the secrets she hides. The reader gets an insight into Traitor society, too - they don't claim to be perfect, but they are a lot freer and liberated than the rest of Sachaka, who employ slavery and treat their women as property. It raises a host of questions about the last book, too. What will we learn of the storestone? What will become of Skellin and Lorandra? Will Cery, Gol and Anyi remain safe?
A very enjoyable read in the end, worth getting through the first few chapters for.