Done. But not dusted. The miserable tooth abscess slowed me down and tomorrow will be all dental work with two different dentists. It’s complicated. You do not want to hear about it.
The book however runs like a fox across country…and surprised ME with its ending, which is logical, crisp, definite, and yet…makes it clear this is not the end of the entire several book arc. This character has reached *their* arc (for now anyway) and isn’t where they expected/planned to be, but is in a better place than they were, with a large dose of self-knowledge having been taken in. The two main characters (“two families, alike in honor” or something like that…the two are equal protags in the story) have grown, changed, been through some things, and are now set up for the next stages of growth and change. People who were coasting on family or wealth while still under the protection of powerful parents are finding out that their foibles are actually widely known and it’s time fledge and fly with whatever wing feathers you’ve got. There are some more of that kind to come later…friends of Tsaia’s king and their younger siblings. There are births and deaths in the overall cast. There’s political stuff in more than one realm.
And a peripheral character who showed up only once in Paladin’s Legacy to deliver a hint while drunk on “spruce” (I have no idea if someone can really make alcohol out of any part of a spruce tree and if so how potent it is, but it’s the only thing that gets the Cold Count drunk enough to say things he otherwise wouldn’t) has leapt into this book with abandon, out of nowhere. (But…my writer mind tried to say “What are YOU doing here? You can’t be here now! You’re over on that other side of the continent!”) but there he was in the dining room of The Golden Fish, and it made possible a particularly slick battlefield maneuver. Rough on the enemy, but then that was the much-disliked Blue Company. We have two notable horses, each with its own personality and background, plus some other interesting ones. I’m particularly fond of the nomad “pony” mares, now pregnant by a Marrakai stallion and proving remarkably useful in a place none of them have ever been. They’re triple threat: ride, drive, carry a pack.
And a whole bunch of characters I have more to say about who didn’t even get a nonspeaking part this time.
Praying hard for an easy time at the dentists tomorrow and that the next book storms into my head the way this one did and agrees to be written with enthusiasm. Second revision draft should start sometime this week unless the dental work results in a lot of OUCH.