The Straits of Galahesh. This story picks up just a bit after the first part of the story, The Winds of Khalakovo, left off. There we were introduced to the peoples from a group of island duchies who had once known a reasonable period of stability, but they were thrown into armed conflict after the Grand Duke was killed by a vicious creature from the spirit world. The conflict was only heightened by the wasting disease that had affected the people and a blight that had affected the land. Few understood that these conditions were directly tied to a rift that had opened between the physical and the spirit realms. As the first part of the story ended, Prince Nikandr Khalakovo had formed a bond with a young savant named Nasim. Together they had reduced the extent of the rift that was threatening to destroy their lands.
As the second story begins, the power structure of the kingdoms of Anuskaya have been rearranged and uprisings continue to bubble to the surface. Even though the effects of the rift have been somewhat abated, new threats have arisen that threaten the land. One threat is in the form of a guerrilla resistance that seeks to overthrow the leaders of the duchies in order to reclaim their lands that were wrested from them years ago. Another is from the mainland Yrstanla to the west which has launched a sudden all-out attack on the islands of the archipelago. Yet the reasons behind these attacks are far from clear to the leaders of Anuskaya. Little do they know that the leaders of Yrstanla are being controlled by powers far beyond their understanding. It is only through the relentless efforts of Nikandr, Nasim, and others with connections to the spirit realm that Anuskaya has even a sliver of a chance to save themselves.
This novel was well written and well-balanced. The chapters and sub-chapters were written from the points of view of different characters, a process that was skillfully handled and served to expand and strengthen the narrative. As was the case for the first novel in this series, this was not a quicky read. It took effort and commitment to keep up with the narrative and the growing conflict. However, the payoff made this attention well worth it. Now I move onto the final part of the trilogy, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh.