Wen, the former King's Rider, cannot face those who were once her fellows. She can't face what she sees as her failure. She wanders the road alone, looking for people who need her help, trying never to let herself get too comfortable or let anyone get too close. But then she saves Karryn, a young serramarra who is similarly bound by the past, from abduction. Both Karryn and her enigmatic guardian Jasper urge Wen to stay with them and protect the serramarra. Will this be another in a series of broken promises, or has Wen found a duty she can't fail?
I enjoyed this book a lot. I had no idea how much I needed a crossdressing swordswoman in my life this month (and the book has started me on a Shinn-rereading-orgy which is also going very well). The plot, the characters, the descriptions were all very satisfying.
I only have two complaints. The first is one that I have with Shinn in general and had hoped that this book might resolve - no gay characters. Not even one (which is interesting because she seems to have no problems writing characters that are unusually gendered, like Wen in this book and Kellen in Dream-Maker's Magic). In fact, there aren't even any characters that just aren't interested in relationships. Everyone must be paired off with someone of the "opposite sex" by the end of her series. I find it frustrating. Shinn, hear my cry: Please, bring the gay!
My second objection is that there is way more than a cameo's worth of appearances by the characters who have already been paired off and had their lives resolved in previous books. Yes, I love Senneth and Tayse and Cammon and Amalie... but their chapter should have been finished already. I didn't like that a few of them (I won't say which) were used in the resolution of the book's central plot towards the end.
Still, this is one of the better Gillengaria books. I recommend it to fans of swordswomen, especially - it does not have as much magic in it as the Twelve Houses books. Four stars.