In this engaging story of Jared, a Red-Jeweled Warlord and unwilling pleasure slave, Bishop returns to the world of her Black Jewels trilogy (Daughter of the Blood
, Heir to the Shadows
, and Queen of the Darkness
). Jared, who has murdered his owner and attempted escape, is recaptured and sold to the mysterious Gray Lady. It soon becomes clear that Jared's new queen is not what she seems to be, and he joins with his fellow slaves--all of whom hide their own secrets--to protect the Gray Lady. During her desperate flight from Dorothea SaDiablo, the Black Widow intent on destroying her and claiming her territory, Jared comes to terms with his own demons and discovers what it means to be truly bonded to a queen.
Bishop uses her usual skill to move interesting, rounded characters through a well-drawn world. Although this is a standalone book, there are ties with the events of the trilogy, most especially the appearance of the compelling Daemon Sadi. The author still pulls no punches in describing the sexual violence and misery that are as much a part of this intricate world as the gender role-reversals and the often-agonizing demands of honor and magic. A pleasurable read for fans of emotionally charged fantasy who enjoy both complex characters and societies, and who are not averse to following characters through their struggles and achievements. --Luc Duplessis
An escaped slave who had murdered his owner, Jared, a Red-Jeweled Warlord, is captured and sold back into slavery to a notorious queen with a mysterious and deadly reputation.