The secret war among the Shadows of the Name is escalating, and there are hints that it is not so secret as the Shadows had thought.
The scarred man, Donovan buigh, half honored guest and half prisoner, is carried deeper into the Confederation, all the way to Holy Terra herself, to help plan the rebel assault on the Secret City. If he does not soon remember the key information locked inside his fractured mind, his rebel friends may resort to torture to pull it from his subconscious.
Meanwhile, Bridget ban has organized a posse - a pack of Hounds - to go in pursuit of her kidnapped daughter, despite knowing that Ravn Olafsdottr kidnapped the harper precisely to lure Bridget ban in her wake.
The Hound, the harper, and the scarred man wind deeper into a web of deceit and treachery certain of only one thing: nothing, absolutely nothing, is what it seems to be.
Book 4, On the Razor's Edge, of Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm series is a continuation begun with Book 3 that detailed the kidnapping of the scarred man (Donovan) by the Confederate agent Ravn. With this latest installment, the ultimate plans of the various competing factions of the Confederate partisans are revealed and Bridget ban along with various hounds (old ones along with a few new ones) mount the rescue for both Donovan and the harper. Along the way, we are treated to a more nuanced and detailed history of the early days of Earth's settlement of the spiral arm as well as its eventual decline. Flynn supplies satisfying resolution to the various mysteries and conflicts and leaves more than sufficient fodder for future storylines.
There is little in the way of new sci-fi elements relative to earlier volumes, although more background and details are provided to flesh out the pinnacle of past technological achievements of old Terra. There are hints of more extant technological wonders than appreciated by the dominant societies of the day.
Unfortunately, the narrator is changed again which takes a while to become familiar with the various personalities that Donovan possesses. At the same time, although a female narrator seems appropriate for a female laden set of perspective views, the renditions of Ravn and Bridget are delivered in a bit too flippant a manner for the tone of the tale. This also requires a close listen since most characters have been given multiple names that are used randomly.
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