Second book in the Rogues of the Republic series.
After the events of The Palace Job, Loch and Kail have been dispatched to help repair relations with the Imperials. Except that was all a lie, and certain factions within the Republic were trying to give Loch up to the Empire as a scapegoat. After she escaped, Veiled Lightning, Princess of the Empire, followed after her with her bodyguards.
Loch now has a new job: Steal back the elven manuscript she stole in the previous book, this time from the elves. It is a lost Imperial artifact, and giving it to them may be the only thing that can prevent a war.
Assuming the undead army attacking both the Republic and the Empire doesn't drive them into open war first.
This novel provides examples of:
- Happiness in Slavery: "Urujar" is an ancient word meaning "happy work." They were bred for fieldwork, much like the elves were bred for crystalwork and the dwarves bred for crafting and mining. Whether they were actually happy under the ancients is unclear, but by the time of the novel they're certainly not willing to go back to that.
- HeelFace Turn: Dairy joined the Knights of Gedesar to help people, and was proud of his work for a time. But when they were sent against Loch and her crew, he started to have doubts. When Nystin tried to kill Loch despite her surrender, Dairy finally had enough and changed sides.
- The Mole: Ghylspwr has been working to bring the ancients back to reconquer the world the entire time. Even helping Dairy defeat Bi'ul and by extension the Glimmering Folk was part of that; after all, the whole reason the ancients left in the first place was to keep the world safe from them. With them gone, they're free to come back.
- Moral Myopia: Captain Nystin of the Knights of Gedesar is absolutely convinced that anyone standing against the Knights is evil, period, no exceptions. Even when he is repeatedly told that his orders are illegal, he ignores orders to stand down, becoming more and more obsessed with killing Loch. At the very end of the book, after she has proven beyond a doubt that she has no desire but to stop the war, he kills her.