The latest of the Song and Swords series gets back to Arilyn Moonblade and Danilo Thann. They are trying to sort out their relationship and survive Waterdeep’s cut-throat politics. They come to realize just how cliquish and elf-hating the nobles of the city are while they are trying to solve the mystery of the magical Dream Spheres. Also, the mercantile family of Thann turns out to have a few secrets of their own. Once again, the rogue elf Elaith “Serpent” Craulnober is in the middle of action, too. 

At first glance, the Dream spheres seem innocent toys that give their possessor the ability to live out their dreams. However, there’s a dark secret behind the artifacts which could destroy the lives of several people. 

This is a good place to read Cunninghamn’s Forgotten Realms short stories because some of them have affected the characters’ lives. Elaith used to scorn Danilo but because of the event in one of the stories that’s no longer the case. Also, the ruthless noblewoman Isabeau Thione was introduced in another of the short stories and she’s one of the main characters in this one. 

Unfortunately, the plot isn’t very original. There are groups of lizardlike assassins roaming the city freely and attacking Arilyn and Danilo with impunity. Waterdeep’s guards are surprisingly ineffective against them and I was left with a feeling that the attacks were action-filler and in the book only because violence is an expected part of the formula. I would have been happier with just a plot involing the mystery.

Edit: Apparently, the final book of the series, Reclamation, isn’t going to happen after all. Too bad.

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