Hollow Empire

Tor. (Poison War, Bk. 2). Dec. 2020. 560p. ISBN 9780765396945. pap. $19.99. FANTASY
The city-state of Silasta is still recovering from the awakening of the gods, and hope to use their karodee to celebrate and bring together some diplomatic ties. Jovan is training his heir, convinced there are still some who are trying to kill his dearest friend. His attempts to ferret them out are stymied by an imperious council and a bold setup placing him at the center of drugs and murder. His sister Kalina tries to navigate a possible ambassador position, but is blocked by a Talafan prince who does not believe women should have any power, although his women seem to have more than their share. Simmering hostilities about the magical Darfi threaten to boil over once again; it’s up to Jovan and Kalina to discover the truth and save their loved ones and country once again. But at what cost? Hawke’s exemplary prose thrusts readers directly into the action, both physical and magical, building tension and excitement until the final pages.
VERDICT The second of the “Poison War” series (after City of Lies) raises the stakes with a plot of thrilling suspense and characters who are dynamic. Readers will be clamoring for the next book in the series.
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