3.5 out of 5 stars

It was supposed to be a simple fetch and retrieve routine mission, but a hasty escape through a building that is under siege on fire and where the doors back to the library suddenly are not working. No one other than the person who allocated them the task knew where there were. Leaving the alternate version of the French Revolution is only possible with the help of her assistant Kai who is partly dragon and can move between the worlds when he chooses.

Turns out it wasn’t an isolated incident, many librarians who were also trying to return with the books that had been asked to retrieve were getting stuck in the other worlds. Not everything is right in the world of the library spies and meetings are called to elicit information and to pass on orders on books that need retrieving with the hope of restoring order and balance back again. The powers that be know that a lot of this is being caused by the traitor Alberich, but fighting back against him is going to be difficult.

Irene and Kai head home after the traumatic experience where she finds her home full of deadly spiders, someone really doesn’t want her to be around anymore. Finding out who is betraying secrets of the Library to Alberich is going to take some doing and will take her to some of the darker parts of her home city and test some of her oldest friendships. The Library is trying to get a grip on the situation and she and Kai are asked to head to St Petersburg’s Winter Palace, to retrieve a book that will help restore order.

The place they are going to is a secret and the last person that expects to meet is Alberich, but he is there are waiting for them.

And I am not going to say any more than that! This is the third in the series of Cogman’s Library Spy Series. Whilst I guessed at the outcome of the book, it is a series, after all, the journey to get there is faster paced than the previous two as Irene battles the threat to the library. The characters are more developed than in the first two books too, the author has grown in confidence in her writing and the interplay between the main two characters is stronger and helps the narrative. Onto the fourth book soon.

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