The fifth Firekeeper book does an all-around good job of continuing the characters and exploring more of the world. It’s been a while since I’ve read the previous books, so I can say that this one doesn’t lean too heavily on them, though prior events get referenced a lot. In fact the biggest weak point here might be too much referencing of the previous background; in a couple places it felt repetitious.

After the sudden change of venue in the previous book, this one continues with exploring new lands, and ends up dealing with the foundational events of the setting: The ‘divine retribution’ plague that ravaged the old mage lord empire(s).

The politics and related plot lines of the first three books are completely gone, and more of the original characters effectively drop out of this book in favor of the new cast. However, the dangling threads from the fourth book are in force, and much of the action here revolves around the jaguar Truth, who lost her sanity at the end of that book. This ends up bringing in a few new characters, and pointers to the quest that underlies the bulk of the book.

And that quest manages to provide the mix of action, exploration, and the more complicated problems of power and how to use it that I enjoy in novels. So, while much of the series has been enjoyable for me, the, oh, say, second half of this novel has been my favorite part so far. I still think the change in direction was way too abrupt in the previous book, but this was more enjoyable on its own than the first three books. Better yet, Lindskold is digging into the backstory of the setting, and I’m sure there’ll be more of that in the next book.