‘Honor’s Knight’ picks up the story of Deviana Morris right where we left off. To recap, Devi is a mercenary with big plans and a stint aboard the Glorious Fool might just help her skip a few steps on her climb to the pinnacle of her career, an invitation to be a Devastator, one of the Paradoxian king’s elite guard. Soon after she signs on with the infamous Captain Caldswell, however, she learns that there’s a reason very few mercs have survived this particular short cut and why the walls and bulkheads of the Fool are pockmarked with old bullet scars. Caldswell isn’t what he appears. Neither is his daughter and nor his cook.
The theme of thinly veneered secrets continues in ‘Honor’s Knight’. Devi has little memory of the climactic event that left her without a partner and a serious revulsion toward Rupert Charkov, the cook. Conversely, he seems fascinated by her. She catches him watching her at every opportunity. To those of us who read the first book, ‘Fortune’s Fool’, these scenes are mildly wrenching. Okay, a bit more than mildly as there’s a love story buried under all the action-packed Science Fiction.
Memory issues aside, Devi is still seeing ghostly bug, or what turn out to be Phantoms and the crew of the Fool continue to be not who they are supposed to be. Caldswell is so obviously not a trader. What is he? You’ll have to read to find out! His connection to the Paradoxian throne, his Royal Warrant, is real enough, however, and the reason why is the big shocker in this novel.
The definition of enemies and allies shifts quickly in ‘Honor’s Knight’. Rachel Bach also makes good use of the adage: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. In short, once she learns several painful truths, Devi has to figure out who to trust and what to do next. Her honour and conviction will be her guide here.
It’s difficult to talk about the plot of a sequel that builds off the secrets revealed in the first book. For that reason, I’ll leave my summary vague and talk about what I liked and didn’t like about the book.
There is very little I didn’t like. Some of the travelling around in ‘Honor’s Knight’ felt a little pointless, as if Bach needed to fill space between revelations. But the action reads smoothly, as always and Devi’s frank point of view is still a joy.
Devi makes these books. She’s the strong female lead women want to read, but she’s not so tough she loses all femininity. She has foibles and flaws, many of which she cheerfully acknowledges. I’ve read enough positive reviews throughout the community to know she appeals to the guys, too. In short, she’s a great, well-rounded character and makes a perfect lead into the story.
‘Honor’s Knight’ a solid entry in the series. It’s definitely a sequel. The plot might make sense to a newcomer, but the questions would outweigh the revelations, in my opinion. There is little need to come to this book without reading the first, however, as both read quickly and well. I’m looking forward to the conclusion, ‘Heaven’s Queen’, due out April 22, 2014.
(pub: Orbit-US. 384 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $11.82 (US), £ 8.97 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-31622-108-5)