Nothing goes so well with a cup of coffee or a spot of tea than a good book. I have been nursing a mighty good one called City of Lies by Sam Hawke, a fellow Reider*.
And it is glorious. Great characters, great world-building with a touch of classic forensics. It is about food-tasters – someone who checks for poison in a head of state’s dishes, a rather dangerous profession to be sure. This involves a brother and sister whose family are tasked with protecting their Chancellor (the head cheese of their country) from assassination, especially poison.
When their Uncle Etan fails and dies along with one Chancellor, the brother and sister must work together to keep the new Chancellor from their enemies. The sister, Kalina, was to be trained initially, but as a sickly child, she lacked the constitution. The duty then passed to her brother, Jovan, who seems to have a kind of autism similar to Asperger’s. This makes it tough for him to deal with stressful situations, like attempted assassinations on his chancellor, Tain, who as it happens, is his dearest friend. Both siblings have strengths and weaknesses that make this story ring so true despite the fantastical setting.
The opening is simply sublime. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, this is one to buy and keep forever. I recommend this book with all my heart and soul. Even if there are no dragons. Well, a dragon will guard this book on my special book shelf once I am done enjoying the book fully. I am now a big fan of Sam’s. I think you will be too.
*Reiders are writers, both published and working toward publication, who are under the tutelage of the Queen Of the Known Universe, Janet Reid, agent extraordinaire and shark of many teeth.