Blood of Innocents - war rages on as Caldan seeks the truth
With the city of Anasoma in enemy hands, Caldan finds himself on the run in rather strange company. Elpidia, a healer who is dying from a strange disease and wants to drink his blood because she believes it will keep her alive, Amerdan, a shopkeeper by day and serial killer by night who kills with a blade better than most assassins, Bells, a deadly enemy sorcerer who is being held captive and has vowed to kill them all, and Miranda, his love interest who is the only person that he can really trust in the group. Unfortunately for Caldan that means he is actually quote alone as Miranda remains in a comatose state due to a coercive sorcery accident that may leave her irrevocably damaged. This odd mix of individuals, and their individual secret agendas, provide for a whole host of intriguing possibilities, and this is just one of the story lines as war rages on within the Mahruse Empire.
To some degree that potential goes unrealized as Caldan's character development is driven solely by his desire to heal Miranda thus causing him to make decisions that are often questionable. Luckily Caldan isn't the only point of view character as Mitchell Hogan expands the scope of this story by revealing some of the additional players in the larger conflict and giving a larger role to some others. Vasile and Felicienne return from the first book and their experiences often provide some welcome relief to Caldan's naivete as each faces some serious challenges in their efforts to survive the war. As is traditional in the middle book of a trilogy nothing is resolved by the end, but the characters all eventually find themselves on intersecting trajectories for the finale.
Despite the problems with Caldan's character development, he continues to increase his knowledge of the various magic systems and this makes up for a lot as Hogan has created an interesting, multi layered fantasy world worth exploring. Despite its flaws, there are enough compelling things going on in the story to make the finale worth looking forward to. Audiobook fans should know that Oliver Wyman continues to provide excellent narration that makes listening to this series an attractive alternative to reading.