Treason in Eswy, by K.V. Johansen
Sequel to Nightwalker
Treason in Eswy picks up some few years after the conclusion of Nightwalker. The characters we last saw as young teens just learning of their destinies are now coming into their own. However, they are not our main focus in this entry to the series. As the title would indicate, this episode in the saga of the island of Eswiland involves the third country on the island, Eswy. While we learn that King Dugald is now working with Maurey and the Nightwalkers of Talverdin to bring peace and freedom between their two peoples, we are more concerned with the political upheaval in Eswy.
This story is told by two new characters. Korby is a Fenlander witch, working with Maurey. As the tale opens he is working as a spy for Dugald, tracking an enemy of the crown. He is quickly sent on another mission though, to find and assist Dugald's betrothed, Eleanor, the Crown Princess of Eswy. Eleanor is the other new character. We first meet her as she practices playing her flute in secret. Music is banned by the strict religious rule of her mother. Eleanor's world is turned upside down when she learns that her brother, heir to the throne, has been killed, and that her mother is taking her away with plans to marry her to a different religious fanatic.
The story switches back and forth in each chapter, with Korby and Eleanor narrating their own adventures and experiences. This lends a sense of immediacy to the action, and makes for a gripping read.
I think this book can work as a stand alone, although there are many references to things about the world that one could only learn from reading the first book. With a year separating my reading of Nightwalker and my reading of Treason in Eswy I did feel a little confused about some of the characters and situations until I got sorted out with my remembrance of who is who and where they belong. This likely wouldn't be a problem if the books were read back to back.
The end concludes satisfactorily, while still leaving questions for a third book. This is an enjoyable series. The books are quite short for fantasy (this one is only 176 pages), but they pack a lot of plot-driven punch. I am looking forward to the third installment.