The third book in the Retrievers series.

Publication year: 2006
Page count: 416
Publisher: Luna
Format: ebook

Wren Valere is a Retriever who gets back items others have lost or misplaced. Some might call her a thief, too. She’s also a Talent; a person who can use the magical force of the Current. Her business partner is Sergei Didier who manages the financial side of things and hunts for the clients.

Ever since they became lovers, in the previous book, Wren has been restless. This story starts when she takes a client all by herself, behind Sergei’s back. The job was supposed to be easy: a rich young woman wants Wren to steal a necklace. The necklace had belonged to her deceased father and is now in the hands of her step-mother. However, in the middle of Wren’s negotiations a psi-bomb explodes in her building. So, she hastily concludes the deal. She suspects that the Mage Council sent the bomb but she has no evidence. But many of the other lonejacks, Talents who aren’t with the Council, think also that the Council is attacking them. In recent months, several powerful lonejacks have gone missing and no-one has been able to track them. That suggest that they are either dead or held in so tight a confinement that only the Council could arrange it. Despite their innate selfishness and need to do their own thing some of the lonejacks are willing to organize – against the Council. Wren doesn’t want a full out mage war on her hands and she’s trying to keep the lonejacks from violence. However, she really doesn’t want to be in any kind of leadership position.

Meanwhile, Sergei is also keeping things from Wren. He’s been contacted by Andre from Silence, the spy organization Sergei used to work for. It seems that some one inside the organization is mucking things up. Silence is Wren’s occasional employee, but the last, and the first, time she worked for them, the job turned out to be a lot more dangerous and difficult than she was led to believe. So, Wren doesn’t like them at all. However, Andre was also Sergei’s friend and mentor, and so Sergei agrees to help him behind Wren’s back.

The fatae are the non-humans of this world. Usually they and the humans coexist in uncomfortable peace. However, lately humans have started to attack the fatae. Wren has a few fatae friends and she’s trying to help them, too.

Wren and Sergei have a nice supporting cast: P.B., the demon who looks like four foot polar bear, Wren’s mother who doesn’t know about Talent and disapproves of Sergei, Andre the mysterious middle manager at Silence, and KimAnne the de-facto leader of the Council and tough as nails businesswoman. Andre has a far smaller part in this book than the previous one and KimAnn is scheming with her underlings. P.B. is still Wren’s staunch friend and he even tries to organize co-operation between the fatae and the lonejacks. It’s also revealed that he’s over a thousand years also.

There are a lot of new people in the book although most of them are only in one scene. Wren takes part in lonejack meetings and we get to see lonejack leaders from various parts of the US. We also see a few of Wren’s contacts: one of them is another Talent from Oz with whom Wren talks online, and another is a human artist. Then there’s Shig, a lizard-like fatae from Japan. He’s P.B.’s friend and he quickly becomes a part of the inner circle. He’s also a Talent although we didn’t see him using magic. I really like the cast but I like the way it’s expanding, too.

Wren is mostly her stubborn self although she’s more concerned for her friends than before. She’s also more willing to put herself on the line to protect her friends. However, she’s also moody and distracted because she’s starting to realize that she can’t be as independent as she was when she was single. That scares her.

I really like the way that Wren’s most notable magical ability, being unseen by others, worked against her. Usually, in fantasy books people don’t have much flaws at all. Here, even Wren’s talents are a flaw. When she has address a large crowd, such as a gathering of angry lonejacks, she has to use magic so that they even notice her and can pay attention to what she’s saying.

Wren is the major point-of-view character but we brief glimpses of Sergei and P.B. There are also short scenes from others, such as the supposed villains of Mage Council.

I have to admit that it weirded me out that the lonejacks are already so organized that they have “area representatives”, the local leaders, but I guess when they have a lot of magical talent, they have to be at least somewhat careful not to step on each others toes. Still, you’d think that there would be more complete lonejacks than just Wren. I also don’t really care for the rift between Wren and Sergei. I really hope that it will bring them closer instead of driving them apart (and to angsting).

The side plots are left wide open and this is a clearly a middle of the series book.

There are some references to the previous book and I recommend starting with the first one: Staying Dead.

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