A breathtaking jaunt back into the world of the insect-kinden...
Book Four of The Shadows of the Apt series sees an acceleration of events and some interesting diversions for both the Empire and the Lowlands.
Salute the Dark deals with the internal struggles and political stratagem within the Wasp Empire as events conspire to bring about the downfall of the Emperor – but whose hand will it be that slays the heart of the Empire itself? As contenders we have the ubiquitous Uctebri, the Mosquito-kinden with a lust for a return to power and glory; the Wasp Princess Seda with her motley crew of disillusioned officers and slaves; or perhaps the great Mantis-warrior, Tisamon, will find his way to stand before the Emperor after effecting his presence in the wasp capital as some kind of slave Gladiator.
In the wider context, the ignoble new machine of Auxillian-Colonel, Drephos, is finally uncovered for prying eyes – its virgin journey to Szar to stay the uprising of the Bee-kinden and its subsequent use is sure to have dire implications for the war at large. Totho is caught between his conscience and his unfettered resentments towards the Lowlanders that treated him as a second-class citizen all his life simply because of the nature of his half-breed birth. Meanwhile, unaware of the impending doom of Szar, Stenwold and his dedicated followers are still attempting to manoeuvre and manipulate the outcome of several battles: Sarn is soon to be under siege and the great Collegium itself is within days of becoming artillery fodder. The war is well and truly underway and the series is seriously hotting up as the Empire makes its omnipresence felt.
With perhaps an intentional nod to J.R.R. Tolkien, Salute the Dark sucks the action into disparate geographical locations and individuals. On the one hand, we have activity in Capitas, the heart of the wasp Empire; on the other, we have the stalwart Stenwold and the indomitable Salme fighting their own battles against the Imperial onslaught. In both cases, it is the actions of the individual that has moulded events and it is the individual who will either perish or survive. Intense fighting scenes, finely tuned politicking and a few genuine surprises effortlessly coalesce to generate a spectacular instalment that only whets the appetite for more.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012