3 out of 5 stars

The town of Rotherweird is an anomaly. It is independent from England and has been so for the past four hundred years all to protect a secret. The last man who tried to exploit that secret, Sir Veronal Slickstone is now dead. As Rotherweird tries to return to normal, or as normal as they can get in this strange town.

But things start to happen and people become aware of omens that are disturbing. A warning is delivered at a funeral the Herald disappears and the covenant between town and countryside is under threat by democracy, of all things. The mayoral election has galvanised the population, but it is setting different factions against each other. As this is unfolding sinister things are happening in the background, Geryon Wynter, a man that everyone thought was buried in their dark Elizabethan past has been planning something over the past centuries. No one can really see exactly what is happening, but the approach of the Solstice may be the key.

Overall I thought this was fairly good. The plot is moderately paced, full of subtle clues and scenes that build towards the end as all the threads come together. Like with the first book, I thought that the mini world, Rotherweird, that he has constructed is unnerving and familiar at the same time. I like the use of magic and 16th-century tech that he mixes in with it too. One flaw for me was the number of characters that swirl through the plot, it felt like there were too many and it always took a moment to try to work out quite what was going on each time. I will be reading the last book in the series though, as I want to see how it ends.

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