Tanya Huff may have left Nova Scotia at three, and has lived most of her life since in Ontario, but she still considers herself a Maritimer. On the way to the idyllic rural existence she shares with her partner Fiona Patton, six cats, and a chihuahua, she acquired a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson Polytechnic—an education she was happy to finally use while writing her recent Smoke novels. Of her previous twenty-three books, the five—Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt—featuring Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII, romance writer, and vampire are among the most popular.
Fifth Quarterby Tanya Huff
It should have been an easy kill for Bannon and Vree, sibling assassins. But their victim stole Bannon's body for himself and imprisoned brother and sister in Vree's body. Then this master of magic offered them a terrible choice--to continue their dual existence forever, or to betray the Empire they'd served all their lives.
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Huff continues in the world she started in 'Sing the Four Quarters' but with a new set of characters. We meet two Imperial assasins, brother and sister, Bannon and Vree, who are quickly shown to be the most impressive and skillful assassins on the block. The beginning is a bit disconcerting as we traveled through Huff's last book with bards and kigh in a completely different kingdom (Shkoder instead of the Empire), and so it takes a bit of readjustment to get settled into this part of the world and the way it works. But the adjustment is small and only noticeable for the first few chapters. Vree and Bannon have been trained together since they were 7 and 6 respectively, and have no family save the Imperial Army. They have been brutally trained throughout their lives to act as two blades with one mind. But when they go on a mission to take out Governor Aralt all that changes between one heartbeat and the next as Bannon blinks and finds himself in the dead body of his target, looking up at his own smiling face. Apparently it is possible for your kigh to jump bodies, and that's exactly what Gov. Aralt did to trap Bannon within the Governor's dying body. Vree is able to reach Bannon/Aralt's dying body and take her brother's kigh into herself before the body dies. Now these siblings are closer than they've ever been, and that may just tear them apart. Instead of being two blades and one mind they are now one blade and two minds. An unsteady truce is struck between the man who took over control of Bannon's body (his name is actually Gyhard) and Vree/Bannon to capture a new body for Gyhard to jump to so that Bannon can have his returned. Unfortunately the one Gyhard has his sights set on is the Imperial Prince, the one person above all else those in the Army are sworn to protect. Because Bannon and Vree share so many memories it becomes quite confusing which memory belongs to whom. Vree and Bannon have to deal with the uncomfortable mixture of their kigh and the resulting loss of identity without going mad while formulating a plan to not kill the Prince and still get Bannon's body back. Packing all this in a few hundred pages makes for a very suspenseful and fast-paced read. Okay, I could have done without quite so much of Bannon's thoughts in this book, though they often served to lighten both mine and Vree's mood. I simply found his thoughts not as interesting and wished that he'd shut up and let other characters have more dialogue in the story. ^_^ It's very interesting to watch Huff take her characters to the brink of insanity and back, and to see how each of their personalities deal with their mutual loss of identity.
this is the second book in the series of 'quarter' books by Tanya Huff. I have to admit, it was my favoriate. The relationship she describes between a brother and sister named Bannon and Vree is incredible. Id recommend this book and all the others in the series to anyone that likes fiction-fantasy. Or just anyone at that! This book could be read a dozen times and still be fun!