One Fell Sweep - Innkeeper Chronicles #3
By the end of book two, Dina and her Inn, Gertrude Hunt, had gained a big boost in power from the peace conference without losing their rating in the Directory. She was also now viewed favorably by three powerful races from our galaxy and owed a favor by the Arbitrator, George. She and Sean are starting to date again when she receives an urgent message from her sister Maud, who is in need of rescue. She also receives another request for help that will prove far more dangerous on behalf of the Hiru. The Hiru are nearly extinct because a neighboring race believes them to be demons so they have used the last of their resources to buy two answers from the all-knowing Archivarius. In return for Dina's help in transporting and protecting the Archivarius, the Hiru offer her the second question. Since their parents, along with their Inn, completely vanished a few years ago Dina and Maud are unable to resist investigating despite the strong danger Gerturde Hunt will face.
Because Maud and her daughter Helen are on a world controlled by House Krahr, getting transport and access is as simple as calling Lord Arland. Her tale might be sad but Maud is the type who prefers to get angry. Her vampire husband betrayed his House and the three of them wound up exiled on that harsh and worthless planet. The only thing more desirable to Arland than a human woman is a human woman like Maud who fights like a vampire, knows their language and customs, plus has a half vampire child. Too bad that Maud has sworn off vampires for life.
With a Hiru in residence it isn't long before some Draziri show up hoping to kill him. It's a sad story. The two races come from neighboring worlds with completely incompatible atmospheres but one look at the Hiru and the Draziri priests declared anathema. Killing a Hiru guarantees not only your own acceptance to heaven but the ascendance of your entire ancestral line. The Hiru are pacificists and few are left. This particular chieftains' family assassinated a High Priest so their only hope of going to heaven means killing Dina's guest. Sean takes this opportunity to go shopping and buy the latest and greatest weaponry for the Inn. It takes several days for the various Archivarians to arrive on Earth and then assemble into the Archivarius itself and the Draziri get more deadly as the stand-off goes on. Even Officer Marais ends up involved, and clearly enjoys his chance to quote intergalactic treaty law at an extraterrestrial assassin.
There's more going on in this book than the first two, plenty of action, and the usual intergalactic humor. Some reviewers disliked a plot they saw as anti-religious. I saw plenty of sympathy for the victims of religious xenocide and am surprised that the faithful of Earth's religions would find it depressing that a fictitious alien religion proved to be false. For my part, I think the series just gets more entertaining as it goes along. Renee Raudman continues to narrate the audiobook version and gets decent reviews for her performance.
Next up: Arland takes Maud home to meet his family.....