The second book in the Rogues of Republic fantasy heist series.

Publication year: 2014
Format: print
Publisher: 47North
Page count: 500

Loch and her band of thieves are back! Three months after their previous adventure, in the Palace Job, Loch is now a Justiciar, essentially a police officer, for the Republic. She and her former scout lieutenant Kail are escorting a group of diplomats during a negotiating trip to the Empire. While the Empire and the Republic aren’t at war, their relations are strained, at best. What should be an easy trip turns out to be a trap for Loch. It seems that someone has claimed that Loch was responsible for the main problem in the previous book. So, the Imperials want to arrest her. She and Kail manage to escape.

It turns out that someone among the Republic’s leaders wants Loch to take the blame and for the Republic and the Empire to go to war. To stop the war, the Empire demands the return of a precious book which was stolen from them. It’s the same book that Loch and her friends were trying to steal in the first story. Unfortunately, the book was given to the elves and they’re not likely to just give it back. So, now Loch and the crew need to steal it back. Loch’s new boyfriend Pyvic finds out that the book is now in a dwarven city. Loch, Kail, alchemist Tern, and acrobat Icy head out to the city to get the book out of the heavily guarded museum. Meanwhile, Pyvic, illusionist Hessler, love priestess Desidora and her magical warhammer, and the unicorn Ululenia stay in the capital. They’re trying to find out just why everyone wants that particular book. However, magical creatures attack them.

Many enemies are on Loch’s tail. Imperial Princess Veiled Lighting, her bodyguard who has a magical axe, and the mysterious attendant want her head. Someone high up in the Republic has sent the Knights of Gedesar after the whole group. The Knights fight everything magical. They consider fairy creatures, such as unicorns, to be abominations and someone has convinced them that Loch’s group is the worst of all. Also, one devious elf gives a lot of trouble to Loch and her friends, and golems and other magical creatures attack the group, as well. Also, a few decisions from the first book come back to haunt Loch.

This is a very fast-paced book with lots of action and quick changes in POV characters. Several times Loch’s group is split up and fighting different enemies at the same time.

This is a very magic-heavy setting. For example, the dwarven trains run on magic and the Republic’s capital city floats in the air. Considering this, I thought the magic-hating knights were pretty strange. Especially since they used magic themselves, mostly charms against magic but still.

Kail and Desidora get the most character development. In the previous book, Kail was mind-controlled and forced to turn against his friends and he’s struggling with that. Desidora isn’t a death priestess any longer and she feels useless in fights. Some characters got together at the end of the previous book and I wasn’t too sure about that. But here we see them together and I really liked both parings. I also really liked the suf-gesuf tournament and that the enemies weren’t a monolithic evil but instead had different motivations and sometimes even fought other bad guys alongside the heroes.

The humor didn’t click with me as much this time as in the first book but otherwise I liked this sequel almost as much as the Palace job. The ending is unexpected and don’t forget to read the post-script at the very end, after acknowledgements!