After the manifold frustrations of Mirror of Destiny, this sequel is, as the saying goes, a breath of fresh air. It’s the work of a mature and confident author who has mastered her personal formula and still managed to keep it from getting stale.
The third of the magical senses in this series is the sense of smell, and magic here is contained in a full range of scents both good and bad. Our main protagonist is the traditional Norton orphan, in this case a survivor of plague, Willadene, who has a most remarkable nose—it’s very nearly as keen as a hound’s. Willadene has a hard life at the beginning of the novel, indentured to her horrid relative Jacoba, who runs a dirtbag tavern frequented by thieves and scoundrels.