|Sasha now lives in the Torrovan port city of Petrodor. This
is a city with several political factions squaring off against each other. These are the
powerful and rich merchant families, the nobility, the clergy, and the "talmaad"
- serrin agents living in Petrodor. The common folk are torn between the predominant
Verenthane religion and the serrin-influenced Nasi-Keth.
Sasha's sister Alythia is
married off to the noble Halmady family. This political allience marriage beings a power
struggle among the other noble houses. This includes Steiner House, which Sasha and
Alythia's sister Marya was married into. The politically minded archbishop sets in motion
bloody events that turn allies into enemies. Sasha and Alythia, along with their allies,
struggle to survive.
The sub-plot follows Jaryd, hell-bent on revenge for the murder of his little brother.
He is now training with the Goeren-yay in Sasha's old village after abandoning his
Verenthane faith at the end of Sasha. Sofy hears of a plot to murder his surviving brother
and warns him. With some village men, they charge off to rescue him.
The characters and factions also avoid being black-and-white stereotypes - not all
Verenthanes are evil, not all nasi-keth are honorable, and the serrin aren't quite as
unified and angelic as they seemed at the end of Sasha. Everyone tries to look out for
their own interests as best as they can. The political set-up is once again very complex,
with factions within factions depending on or plotting against each other.
Petrodor is an exciting fantasy with a complex world. It is an interesting focus on
power, politics, and religion, with memorable characters. Theres a bit of romance at
the end but is minor. The story is action-packed and exciting. The second Trial of Blood
and Steel is an excellent read. You should read Sasha first, it will be confusing
otherwise as you wont know the cause of the seemingly coming war or the many