Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Orca by Steven Brust

It seems inconceivable to me that I could have purchased a book in a series that I love, with a protagonist I'm attached to,  placed it in the TBR pile, and then failed to read it for several years, but that is what appears to have happened with Orca. I began re-reading it (or so I thought) and came to the realization slowly that none of it seemed at all familiar, and the surprise ending was indeed a surprise. So I must either conclude that I failed to read it when it first came out and I bought it, or my memory has finally slipped into the abyss.

Orca takes place about a year after the events of Athyra. Vlad has been wandering around, avoiding the Jhereg, and trying to find someone to help poor Savn recover from the effects of his battle with Loraan. Vlad ends up in Northside, seeking the aid of a sorceress who has had some success with people who have had magical brain injuries. She's a rather gruff old woman who is being evicted from her lifetime home, and Vlad makes a bargain with her to help her stay on her land if she will cure Savn.

In his investigation, Vlad stumbles upon a far larger problem - an Orca named Fyre has been murdered, but the representatives of the Empire sent to investigate are involved in a cover-up, as it turns out that his shady business dealings, if brought to light, could cause the collapse of multipe banks and several Houses within the Empire. Vlad enlists the aid of his old friend, Kiera the thief, to steal some papers from Fyre's estate (in both senses of the word) so that he can begin to figure out what's really going on, and Kiera's curiousity keeps getting her more deeply involved as the plot thickens.

So, it becomes apparent as the story progresses that Kiera is far more than a simple thief, albeit a highly skilled one, working for the Jhereg. She displays a lot more knowledge about the clandestine operations of the Empire than seem likely. So, I began to suspect that she's actually an intelligence operative, working very covertly for the Empress. Then, there was one odd event that just didn't fit properly - a jigsaw piece out of place. Kiera thinks that she sees Devera walk past the front door of an inn. Devera is - or will be - Aliera's daughter, who has appeared in the Halls of Judgement and in dreams to Vlad several times. I wondered how in the world Kiera would know about Devera, let alone recognize her.

I as totally shocked by the answer when it showed up, which convinces me that I just now read Orca for the first time. I hope your first time is good for you, too.


Beth D. said...

I haven't read the series, but I have a bad habit of buying something and thinking I have read it. I keep two separate book cases for read an unread.

Beth ^_^

Jon said...

I usually keep my TBR pile separate, then put things on the shelves in the library when I'm finished. No idea what happened with Orca.