The final volume of Jane Routley's award-winning fantasy trilogy.
In search of her missing niece Dally, Dion arrives in luxurious Akieva, the glorious and corrupt capitol of decadent Aramaya. Here, at the dazzling court of the handsome young emperor, Dion discovers her niece trapped in the web of necromancy and deceit hiding within the magnificent Winter Palace. But Dion's arch enemy lurks at the center of the web, Bedazzer, the ruthless demon who has vowed to possess her-no matter the cost. In the ensuing deadly conflict, Dion must confront the dark secrets of her own heart and the mighty evil concealed in those around her.
Publishers Weekly Review
The third fantasy outing (after Fire Angels) of the mage Dion Holyhands (aka Dion Demonslayer, Lady of Ruinac) takes her across the ocean to the land of Aramaya, the center of civilization and, she suspects, the current home of her missing niece, Syndal (aka Dally). Dion and her friend Kitten survive shipwreck to reach Akieva, the capital of a country with most of its features borrowed (if intelligently) from czarist Russia, and soon encounter the niece. But Dion's niece turns out to be in thrall to a powerful conspiracy of necromancers, and is in fact possessed by Dion's old nemesis, the demon Bedazzer. In rapid succession, Dion begins an affair with the demon-hunter Count Nikolai Terzu, rescues her niece, is reconciled with her ex-husband and has to chase down the necromancers to their stronghold in the southern marshes of Aramaya's latest conquest, Mazorra. Even Dion needs help on the last errand, and gets it from Aliceander the Crocodile Goddess, ruler of the marshes. Like its predecessors, the book combines romance, mystery and adventure in a fantasy setting, and in spite of the author's very fair degree of skill, this particular troika doesn't pull well in harness. Dion's obsession with her childlessness will surely grow tedious for some readers. Routley deserves credit for superior world-building and above average characterization, however; even if she isn't doing anything new here, she is at least covering familiar ground with more aplomb than are many of her colleagues.