The ninth instalment in the October Daye series, A Red-Rose Chain sees Toby have to leave the familiar environs of San Francisco and travel to Portland, Oregon, on a diplomatic mission to a hostile territory in order to avoid a war.
Things have been going well for the Kingdom of the Mists since the false queen was deposed and the rightful heir, Arden Windermere, was restored to her throne. That is, until someone shoots her seneschal full of elf-shot – a declaration of war from the Kingdom of Silences. Long ruled over by a regent chosen by the false queen, until now Silences has kept pretty much to itself. But now the false queen has joined them, and the King – her eager puppet – is intent on restoring her to her stolen throne.
Into the fray steps Toby – not normally the sort of person you’d choose for a diplomat, but Arden is still new to this whole regency thing – ably backed up by Tybalt, Quentin, May and Walter, the Tylwyth Teg alchemist who fled Silences long ago and may be hiding some secrets of his own. Finding out that her diplomacy is about as welcome in Silences as a kick to the face, Toby finds she and her entourage being regularly insulted by her gracious hosts, before being informed that the war will be called off as long as she donates all of her body parts to the King’s alchemists. But thankfully, rather than giving in to her usual instincts to harm herself for the benefit of others, this time Toby chooses to go on the offense instead.
I’m pretty much addicted to this series at this point in my reading, and this entry was devoured in much the same fashion as its predecessors. I enjoyed watching Toby being removed from her comfort zone, as well as getting to know more of the kingdoms outside of the Mists, Tybalt is as much fun as ever, and I’m loving watching how Quentin grows (and I hope we’ll eventually get to see what kind of ruler this eventually turns him into). I’m also really enjoying meeting the different villains of Faerie and the various underhand methods they use to achieve their goals (even as they’re thwarted by Toby)
I’m now rapidly running out of series, and I imagine I’ll soon be doing a rather good impression of a goblin fruit addict, jonesing for my next fix.