Joel Shepherd is a science fiction and fantasy author. He's studied International Relations, interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, has been a reporter on women's basketball, and studied film and television. His novels include the Cassandra Kresnov series (CROSSOVER, BREAKAWAY, KILLSWITCH) and the quartet, A Trial of Blood & Steel (SASHA, PETRODOR, TRACATO, HAVEN). Visit him at www.joelshepherd.com
Picking up where 2009's Sasha ended, Shepherd sets Sasha and her doughty band of human and serrin war leaders in the port city of Petrodor as Sasha's sister Alythia is married off to the noble Halmady family. This peace-treaty marriage sparks a power struggle among the other noble houses, including Steiner House, to which Sasha and Alythia's sister Marye was married. A politically minded archbishop begins bloody machinations that raise the stakes and turn allies into enemies. As in the first volume, the beginning bogs down with many similar names and a huge number of characters who tend to make speeches at one another with a lot of unfamiliar terms, but as soon as the action picks up, the banter, character development, and vivid descriptions build tension toward a gripping climax, leaving tantalizing threads dangling. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.