by Hilari bell
New York: Eos, 2008.
*If you haven't already read the first in the series, The Last Knight, this is a spoiler warning for that title.*
Returning from their adventures attempting to recapture Lady Ceciel, Sir Michael knows that returning without the lady will mean he is declared unredeemed. He will be marked with a tattoo and forever considered outside the law - he can claim no redress should another man swindle or harm him. But this is the only way he can see of avoiding his father's requirement for him to work as a steward, and Michael is nothing if not stubborn. Meanwhile, a messenger finds Fisk and gives him a message he's been carrying for months. The contents are vague, but clear - his sisters need his help.
This time around, we meet Fisk's family and get more of his back story, which was only hinted at in The Last Knight. As before, the chapters alternate between Fisk's and Michael's points of view so we can get a really good sense of their character development, as idealistic Michael learns just how hard life can be as an unredeemed man and Fisk tries to return Michael's dignity in a characteristic if somewhat backhanded manner. Instead of a journey, this story is more of a mystery that close readers may be able to put together a little before the characters do, but what really makes these stories fun is spending time with Michael and Fisk.