Tor, Jan 5 2010, $24.95
In Draegara, the House Jhereg crime syndicate has placed a price on the head of Vlad Taltos, who has avoided the mob for several years. However, his skill at staying in hiding ends in a small village tavern when he overhears news that his friend Aliera e’Kieron was arrested by the Empire for practicing taboo elder sorcery. As Aliera never concealed her activity from anyone and no one cared including the Empress, Vlad wonders why now especially with Sethra Labode to testify against her. Apparently, Aliera is accused of trying to kill the Empress Zerika, betray the country to some foreign army, and released a demon inside the House of the Dragon.
Vlad knows all the reasons to mind his business starting and ending with being a foreigner who betrayed his House Jhereg. So he heads to the capital city Adrilhanka that he has avoided for several years to rescue Aliera to learn the real truth behind the incarceration of his friend accused of violating Imperial Articles of Indictment for Felonious Conduct even if it kills him to do so.
This is a terific entry in the long running Taltos saga as the latest Vlad’s excellent adventure focuses on him landing in plenty of trouble; more tsuris than usual, which says a lot. His activities also stir up problems for everyone else within his circle including the female sorcerer he has come to rescue. Just another few days for Steven Brust’s superb tale as the hero, his friends, his enemies and especially the reader learn life’s critical meaning: “we are what we worry about.” And some of us worry through life.