Last summer I listened to the first two books in The Others series, Written in Red and Murder of Crows and I fell in love with the series. The Others series is set in alternate Earth, called Thasia, where humans are not the dominant species. Instead humans are a vulnerable population that lives at the mercy of mysterious and supernatural communities of shape-shifters, vampires, elementals and other even more powerful beings that have control over most of the world's lands and resources. Centuries ago humans and Terra Indigene worked out treaties that allow humans to barter technology, books and other manufactured goods in exchange for access to raw materials, limited land leases and access to water sources, allowing human communities to grow and thrive as long as they do nothing to threaten their Terra Indigene neighbors. After the creation of these treaties, the Terra Indigene for the most part retreated to the interior parts of the vast land holdings, leaving behind only small groups to live near, observe and trade with the humans. These Terra Indigene-controlled tracks of lands, where human law does not apply, at the edges of human settlements were called Courtyards, and are used as headquarters, embassies and trading posts.
Meg Corbyn, is the central character in The Others series. She is a blood prophet who is learning how to live after escaping captivity at the hands of humans who profited from her prophecies. In Written in Red, Meg finds sanctuary among the Terra Indigene when she stumbles into the Lakeside Courtyard and into Simon Wolfguard's bookstore. In Murder of Crows, Meg's continued presence in the Lakeside Courtyard and her prophesies expose a growing anti-Terra Indigene movement in the human communities of Thasia. In Vision in Silver, the tensions between human and Terra Indigene communities continue to grow and it is clear that change, maybe explosive change, is inevitable.
I really loved this book. It was 1/3 political thriller, 1/3 murder-mystery and 1/3 psychological horror story.
When the newly rescued Cassandra Sangue struggle to acclimate to life outside of the sanatoriums, Meg's quest to understand how to manage her prophetic urges while minimizing harm to herself gains new urgency. She is no longer simply trying to figure out how live and use her gifts outside of captivity but intentionally blazing a trail for these young and newly rescued group of Cassandra Sangue.
Lieutenant Montgomery becomes personally involved in trying to identify and stop the human agitators hell-bent on sparking a Terra Indigene-Human war in Thasia, when his daughter Lizzie is nearly abducted and his ex killed. He must try to figure out what humans he can trust while not overly-alarming his Terra Indigene contacts.
Meanwhile Simon is traveling all over Thasia following the clues in Meg's cryptic but frightening prophesies, looking for hope and hoping to figure out some new way to for these two communities to co-exist short of genocide.
Ms. Bishop was able to juggle these ambitious and complicated plot threads, while developing complex emotional relationships within the book's large ensemble cast. I was fully engaged in all three plots, because I was emotionally invested in the lives of the secondary characters, both human & Terra Indigene, not just in Meg and Simon's relationship. But Simon and Meg remain central to the story. Their struggle to understand what their growing attraction and emotional attachment means to them and everyone else serves as both a catalyst and proof of the radically altering state of human & Terra Indigene relations in the series.
I was left wanting to read so much more about this world. I was greatly relieved to see confirmation on Ms. Bishop's website that we can count on at least two more books in this fascinating series. My only disappointment is in having to wait at least another year for the next book.
Thursday I will be again reviewing another fantastic Urban Fantasy book, Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs, the 5th story in her Alpha and Omega series.