Read by Kate Reading After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists-the mysterious threat that drove the savage Canim to flee their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe--or no one will have a chance of survival . . .
Sharp tactical plotting, hazardous cross-country travel and a dash of sardonic humor mark Butcher's fourth Codex Alera novel (after 2006's Cursor's Fury). Two years into a difficult campaign against the wolflike Canim invaders, Calderon legion captain Tavi is saddled with an unqualified but politically powerful superior whose plans threaten disaster and force Tavi into potential treason. Meanwhile, aging ruler Gaius Sextus plans a final strike against the rebellious lord of Kalare, but to get close enough to act, he must set aside his power to control the elements and make a painful overland slog that neatly challenges genre conventions. Butcher deftly deploys intrigue, conflicted loyalties and hairbreadth action to excellent effect. Few writers balance military realism and cinematic swashbuckling with so much skill or wit. Series fans will welcome the revelation of Tavi's long-secret heritage and the strong climaxes resolving most of the immediate conflicts, while newcomers will have no trouble navigating the well-developed landscape. (Dec.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information