As fans of this series know well, Joe Ledger's psyche was fractured by the traumatic experiences of his youth and he is barely able to keep it together on a good day. That makes him rather ill equipped to handle the devastating events that ended the last book, Rage, and it is obvious that he will never be the same. The question then becomes, what will happen to Joe's mind if he loses the battle that rages within him and what damage will he do to those around him? Those questions and more weigh heavily on the minds of everyone that cares about him, but at the same time they all know that Rogue Team International is not able to stand against their current enemies without Joe Ledger. It is a no-win scenario for everyone involved and the stakes have never been higher.
The Osiris Serum changed the world by giving some people magic that they could pass on to their children. The powerful Prime mages are rich, famous, and utterly ruthless in the defense of their Houses. They can create tornadoes, level buildings, or crack the human mind like an egg so everyone else does their best to avoid becoming collateral damage. Nevada Baylor is a private investigator who specializes in insurance fraud and cheating spouse cases to support her family. Her life goes sideways when she is forced to apprehend notorious bad boy Adam Pierce (Fire) who is accused of bank robbery and murder. Her own talent, the ability to detect lies, is useless against a combat mage so it looks like a suicide mission until she's kidnapped by an even more dangerous Prime, Mad Rogan (Telekinesis) and the situation devolves from there. There's a grand conspiracy among the most powerful mages to create anarchy by burning down Houston, TX and Nevada may be the only one who can save the city.
Now that the war is over, it is time to right the wrongs of the prior generations and to undo the damage done by the Magi. It is no small task to establish a new society, especially when it is is being built upon the ashes of two old ones, as both former kingdoms still maintain a lot of strong feelings and biases that don't just disappear because the war is over. Kirron hopes to establish a new role for the dragon jousters in a society no longer dominated by war, while Aket-ten complicates his life as she strives for equal female representation amongst the jousters. Old prejudices die hard though as female dragon jousters is not a concept that Tia or Alta would have been willing to embrace. As everyone pours their hearts into finding a way to build something better for the future they quickly come to realize that they may not have the time to do so as there are other threats out there ready to pounce on them while they are in a vulnerable state.
The existence of vampires and demons in Toronto suggests that Blood Price fits into the urban fantasy genre but since it was published in 1991 it predates the tropes associated with that genre. Vicki Nelson was an amazing homicide detective until she started losing her sight so she left the force and got her license as a PI. One night she's at the subway station when an impossible murder takes place. It is part of a series of brutal serial killings that the press call the Vampire Murders even though everyone knows that's impossible. Henry Fitzroy is the bastard son of Henry VIII, a vampire, and romance novelist who wants to stop the killer because he doesn't want to face the modern equivalent of a pitchfork wielding mob. The killer is actually something worse than a vampire, a demon, and it will take Vicki's investigative skills and Henry's supernatural powers to stop it from releasing Hell on Earth.
The Magi have emerged from the shadows and their power is now openly wielded across both Tia and Alta as the war rages on. Any who dare oppose them are swiftly met with retribution and the people of both countries are suffering greatly. Kirron and his new generation of dragon jousters set their focus on building up Sanctuary in the ruins of an old desert city as a safe haven for those in need. With roots on both sides of the war, the main characters all come together to form the leadership of Sanctuary and they choose to welcome people from both Tia and Alta into their midst. It doesn't take long for this policy to stretch their limited resources too thin as their population continues to swell with refugees. Amidst the challenges of merging these two cultures together, the dragon jousters are pushed to their limits running night time missions to save as many people as possible. Unfortunately they are too few in number to save everyone. Eventually their efforts catch the attention of the Magi and then things take a turn for the worse.
With book 2 the focus of the story shifts to the other side of the war as Kiron, formerly known as Vetch, returns to his homeland and starts to learn about his own people. Born on a farm and captured by the enemy as a child, Kiron has never really experienced Altan society, but he is about to get a crash course. He hopes that his return will help swing the war in the favor of the Altans once he shares all of the secrets that he learned as a dragon-boy in Tia, but he also knows that he is still too young, as is his dragon, to engage in the conflict directly. Not that he would want to at this point either because even though Ari helped him return home, he also issued him a warning: If the two ever meet in battle, Ari will do his duty for Tia. Kiron owes Ari his life and he has no plans to just throw it away by going up against him in battle because Ari is still the best dragon jouster that has ever lived.
Vetch is a Altan serf and the favorite whipping boy of Khefti the fat, his Tian master. Tia and Alta have been at war for generations and a captured serf like Vetch is lower than a slave in Tian society, with less rights to boot. Vetch was born on the land that is now owned by Khefti and that means he has no hope of ever leaving it. He lives his life fueled by hatred of Khefti and his only dreams involve bad things happening to his overweight master. Then one day a Dragon Jouster named Ari comes out of the sky and stops at Khefti's well for a drink of water. This prevents Vetch from fetching the water that Khefti ordered him to get, so of course he receives a beating as punishment. When Ari witnesses this treatment he decides to take Vetch with him and turn him into a dragon-boy as is his right as a member of the King's army. Vetch knows nothing of dragons but he is accustomed to hard work and he intends to do his best even for his new master. Life as the dragon-boy assigned to Kashet, Ari's dragon, is definitely an improvement for Vetch. However, he still feels very alone as the only dragon-boy in the compound who is a serf, and he still harbors a deep resentment of all Tians for killing his father.
The Raven God's vessel, a possessed raven, is dead. According to the agreement between the people of Vastai and the Raven God, their ruler, the Raven's Lease, must now sacrifice himself to empower the Raven while it incubates in a new egg. The Lease's Heir, his son Mawat, returns from his military post at the border to find that his father has vanished without being sacrificed and his uncle claims to be the new Lease. It's supposed to be impossible to usurp the Lease so Mawat is certain something is very rotten in Vastai. Another god, Strength and Patience of the Hills, tells the story of Mawat's revenge intermixed with its own history to Mawat's faithful retainer Eolo. Only Eolo senses the doom descending on Vastai.
In the future, humans live side by side with cognizant androids, known as Artificials, and the AI technology that grants them sentience is getting better all the time. These Artificials have free will and there are many humans who oppose their very existence. Kestrel Hathaway is a minister who has just undergone a personal tragedy that has shaken her faith and she now questions what kind of God would allow such things to happen. Just as she is coming to terms with her loss she finds herself involved in a terrorist attack where she lends aid to some of the victims and this plunges her into a world of federal agents and terrorist groups that are odds with each other. The Purists are fighting to prevent the Artificials from becoming more advanced and they feel that they must stop such advancement before it is too late. Wrapped up in this conflict, Kestrel finds herself not only thinking about her own beliefs but also whether advanced Artificials, who struggle with the same insecurities that she does, have a right to the same faith and belief in God that helps her cope.
Tide Child is a dead ship. Made from the bones of a sea dragon it's bones can no longer absorb the souls of the sacrificed so it was painted black and given a crew of the condemned. The Black Ships are still part of the Hundred Isle's navy but despised by everyone including their crews. The deckchilder of Tide Child prefer to spend their time drunk until the most famous and infamous Shipwife, or captain, of the fleet shows up and duels Joron for his Shipwife's hat. To his astonishment Meas doesn't kill him but instead makes him her second in command. So starts the strange tale of an unjustly condemned murderer and a politically condemned tactician in a world that reveres women that can bear children free of mutation but also sacrifices the first of those children to keep their ships "alive".