20 April 2017
REPUBLIC: "After the notorious outlaws Amaranthe and Sicarius helped overthrow the corrupt faction controlling the empire and brought in a great war hero to lead the nation to prosperity, they finally earned their pardons--and some time off. A tropical vacation cruising around in a private submarine? Perfect. But their trip is interrupted by a summons from the new president: they're needed back at home. Trouble unlike anything they've ever dealt with threatens to destroy the capital city and throw the fledgling republic into chaos."
DIPLOMATS AND FUGITIVES: "Even though Basilard is the official Mangdorian ambassador to the Turgonian Republic, he still isn’t fully trusted by his pacifist people. After he was enslaved and forced to entertain spectators in pit fights that left him scarred and mute, his kin turned their backs on him, condemning him for choosing violence. They don’t let him travel home without supervision, and he isn’t allowed to see his daughter.
When trouble arises in his homeland, a mysterious blight that could cause widespread starvation for his people, he’s invited to take several old friends to travel to his country to investigate. If Basilard can solve the problem, perhaps his people will finally realize he’s not a bad influence on his family. But unlikely obstacles stand in his way, including a strange Kendorian woman that he’s ordered to take along on the mission.
A Kendorian fugitive hiding in Turgonia, former tracker and assassin Ashara Longbow wants to start a new life, so she can sneak her children out of her country to join her in the republic. Not only is she hunted back home, but the Kendorian ambassador in Turgonia has learned she exists and wants a favor in exchange for keeping her secret. If she doesn’t help him thwart Basilard’s mission, she may never see her children again."
Lindsay Buroker has built an intriguing world. The idea of people striving to do good in a place where religion has been banned and being the best version of themselves without divine guidance--and how they interact with those who do have beliefs--creates an interesting interplay. Republic and Diplomats and Fugitives continues the story of Amaranthe and her crew as they try to find their places in the new democratic country of Turgonia. Entertaining as always, they deal with the challenges in front of them and their city without expectation of reward (except for Maldynado, but he expects to be rewarded for EXISTING. Good thing he’s charming!) and performing heroic feats of derring-do. The blend of magic-fuelled technology and a steampunk society creates an interesting dynamic as well.
But most of all, there’s the original characters. Maldynado and Basilard and Amaranthe and Sicarius shine (or glower darkly) and it’s just wonderful to go on adventures with them once again. With the added dry wit of Sespian and the sparkle of Mahliki and the fantastic relationship of Admiral Starcrest and his wife Tikaya, the stories continue to have depth and humor. I do love this series and I’m glad Ms. Buroker extended it.
Gentle Reader Alert: You know that non-religious society? Yeah, the characters don’t have the same morals I do and they’re pretty frank about it. There is some innuendo, but nothing graphic. I’d still put this at about a PG-13 level.