It is the annual Swan Ball at Tremontaine House. Nobody who is anybody would turn down an invitation, but some may get more than they bargained for if they attend. But what will the Swan be this year? A savoury marvel? A sugary confection? An artisanal delight? Or a total disaster?
The City is bustling in the run up to the annual Swan Ball at Tremontaine House. Saabim and Chuleb can’t understand why the Balam have been invited; is Diane trying to soften them after failing to keep her promises? Kaab takes a break from her swordscraft to find out, and beleaguered Rafe finds he really is the only person in the City who doesn’t want to talk about the Ball…
As Diane instructs her swordsman to ensure that poor Ben’s associates are in no position to talk about whatever he knew, Tess finally accepts that perhaps she needs a new protector. Kaab holds auditions, but her swordscraft is wobbly enough that she could do with a protector herself. As for Rafe, he has no idea that he might need one soon if he doesn’t stop annoying the Duchess…
Doors close, doors open. Rafe is still seething over the changes to University regulations when he is unexpectedly offered a position in the Tremontaine household. Can Rafe achieve his goals through his new lover’s influence? Or will the vengeful Duchess ensure that the young upstart meets a similar end to Ben the would-be blackmailer?
Tensions are high at the University: the Governors are on the verge of changing the rules and both Rafe and Micah are convinced their Doctors have their facts wrong. Diane could tell them that public confrontation is no way to endear yourself to influential men who control your future, but with Rafe eyeing up her husband, she won’t be doing anything of the sort…
Alaya Dawn Johnson keeps us strictly in the lower City in this second episode of Tremontaine. Rafe is living down to my fears rather than up to my expectations; Micah is liking all the math; and Kaab is trying to earn her way back into her family’s good graces.
It’s an earlier time in Riverside. Diane, Duchess of Tremontaine, is trying to maintain her husband’s wealth and estates. Young Micah makes friends across a gaming table at the University with her mathematical prowess. And disgraced trader’s daughter Ixkaab Balam arrives from overseas, keen to practice her swordcraft. I’m finally turning my attention to Tremontaine, Ellen Kushner’s adventure in world-sharing and serial publishing.
Theron Campion, heir to Tremontaine, takes after his father the Mad Duke: smart and scandalous. Dallying at the University, he meets intense young historian Doctor Basil St Cloud and the pair begin a passionate relationship. But Theron has royal blood, and the North cries out the return of Kings and wizards. Will Basil’s research become the catalyst for a royal revolution?
As Basil is torn between his regret and his complex ambitions, an unexpected visitor arrives in Riverside. But Theron is teetering on the edge of madness. Will his half-sister Jessica intervene to help him – or will her own bitterness with Tremontaine tempt her to ruin him completely?
Basil believes he is shining a light on the past and exposing its secrets.The Serpent Chancellor knows that shining a light on a secret robs it of its power. But neither he nor Basil truly believe in the power of magic. As spring approaches, it may become impossible for anyone – least of all Theron – to deny the magic of the Land.
Theron loves Basil. Basil has doubts, but can’t deny his passion for his young lover. But one has the blood of kings – and kingslayers – in his veins, and the other is reading ancient books of magic at midnight. How much longer can they remain oblivious to the political riptides swirling around them?
A new generation dominates Riverside and the Hill. But old allegiances are coming to the fore. Kings and wizards have long been studied at the University, but as Northerners cry out for the return of the King, Basil St Cloud and his students may find their studies more political than historical. And the Hill has a history of solving political differences with swords…
When the Mad Duke Tremontaine offers to drop his vendetta against his sister if she surrenders her daughter to him for 6 months, young Katherine heads for the City with pipe-dreams of velvet cloaks, rich suitors and saving her family. But what does Alec Campion really want with her? And can a woman ever exercise the privilege of the sword?
In an unnamed city, the nobility literally look down on Riverside from the Hill. They love Richard St Vier, common swordsman, for his grace and his style. He kills with a single thrust to the heart. Welcome to a world of barbed wit, disguised malice and exquisite fencing.