Thursday, 13 May 2010

The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan

"As the son of the late High Lord Akkarin, saviour of the city, and Sonea, the former street urchin turned Black Magician, Lorkin has a legacy of heroism and adventure to live up to. So when Lord Dannyl takes the position of Guild Ambassador to Sachaka, Lorkin volunteers to be his assistant in the hopes of making his mark on the world.

When news comes that Lorkin is in danger, the law that forbids Black Magicians leaving the city forces Sonea to trust that Dannyl will save him, and now Cery needs her as never before. Someone has been assassinating Thieves, and when his family is targeted he finds evidence that this Thief Hunter uses magic.

Either a member of the Guild is hunting down the Thieves one by one, or there is - once again - a rogue on the streets of Imardin. But this one has full control of their powers - and is willing to kill with them."

This is the first book in the Traitor Spy trilogy, the follow up to the Black Magician trilogy. I read The Black Magician trilogy under force from two of my best friends, I'm not big on straight fantasy, I much prefer the urban side of things, but they read my recommendations, so I read theirs. And fell in love. It was a fantastic trilogy, with a great ending, but at the same time I am very happy that it continues with this trilogy. Set 20 odd years later, things have changed in Imardin, within the Guild and in the slums. But that doesn't mean everything has changed for the better.

Told in third person but from several different points of view, like the BM trilogy, we catch up with Sonea, Cery and Dannyl from BM, and are introduced to Sonea and Akkarin's son, Lorkin. A few other familiar faces appear, but we don't get their POV. I loved Sonea, Cery and Dannyl in BM, and this book didn't change that. They're all older now and have changed a certain amount in that time, but they're still the characters I loved, and I love seeing what happened to them. Lorkin I grew to love very quickly. He's a fantastic character with as much depth to him as all the others. Didn't really feel like it was the first time I'd met him for long. There were also many new side characters, some of whom I really enjoyed reading about. And throughout the book there was some good character development for all the main players.

Like BM, there are several different plot threads, some over lapping, others not so much, at least, not yet. There were some good twists and turns, although some things I did see coming. But all the varying plots moved at a decent pace, not lingering too long on one over another, and carefully balancing various plots between different POV's. One thing I've liked from the start in The Magicians' Guild (BM #1), seeing the story through different eyes at different stages. We as the readers get a much better view of everything going on for the various characters than any individual one of them. And yet, when one is afraid, even if we know there is little or no reason to be, it can still be felt.

This book gives us a much better look at Sachaka, and how things work differently for people, magicians and non-magicians, there. And hints of how things work in other lands outside the Allied Lands as well. It makes for interesting comparison to Kyralia, in negative and positive ways. One of the many bonuses to seeing the world that's been created here through many eyes.

While there is plenty of tension in this book, and some great action filled parts, over all I felt like it had a lighter, slightly more relaxed tone than any of the Black Magician books. Not a bad thing, it worked very well. It was funnier too, there were some actual lol moments. Which I really liked. While I have no problem with dark books (tend to love them actually), the ones with the right touch of humor at the right time, tend to feel more complete, more well rounded. I don't think I have any true complaints about this book, other than wanting more of everyone. There is a side character, Anyi, in particular who I'd love to get to know better. She's a fighter and I think there is, or could be, a lot more to her than what we've seen so far. Even so, I felt that it was a great book, easy to get in to and hard to put down. If you've not yet read The Black Magician Trilogy (The Magicians' Guild, The Novice, The High Lord) I strongly suggest you read them first as I don't think you'd get nearly as much out of this book otherwise. If you liked BM, then this is a must read. This ended on something of a cliff hanger, and I'm very much looking forward to the second book, The Rogue, next year!

Rating: 9/10

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